Exclusive Q&A with STR's Vitantonio Liuzzi 02 Mar 2007
We'll be competitive, just perhaps not immediately, says Italian
Bahrain testing looked promising for Toro Rosso and, with team boss Gerhard Berger adamant the STR2 is legal, the Italian squads results seem set to improve still further in 2007. We caught up with Vitantonio Liuzzi in Sakhir to find out his predictions for the season ahead...
Q: You have now been confirmed at Toro Rosso - what took so long?
Vitantonio Liuzzi: There were a few issues we had to discuss about and it took a bit of time.
Q: Even though Gerhard Berger had said last years drivers were in pole position for the seats, there is always a certain amount of suspense in Formula One racing? How big of a relief was it?
VL: Obviously I was very happy when my name was confirmed, but I have to say I have always been confident I would drive for Scuderia Toro Rosso this year because last year I did a good job.
Q: There is still some uncertainty about the car you will drive this season. Is that something a driver worries about?
VL: Im not worried because I know which car Im driving, the one Im testing during these days in Bahrain. There is still much work to do but Im positive we will do a good job this year.
Q: Toro Rosso were quite strong in 2006, despite the fact that the car was a modified Minardi. What do you expect this year?
VL: Even if we will struggle at the beginning of the season I expect to score points and make a big step forward on the grid in the middle of the season we will be competitive you will see!
Q: Last season, Toro Rosso often challenged their senior team, Red Bull Racing, in the times. How likely is a repeat of this in the 2007 season?
VL: We are just a younger team, but we have got the same will to do well and get good results. Our goal is to fight against all our rivals and beat them Red Bull Racing is one of those like all the others. The Red Bull teams have both got good engines, Ferrari and Renault a nice battle!
Q: From the tests you have done so far, how much of a difference has the switch from Cosworth engine and Michelin tyres to Ferrari power and Bridgestone rubber made?
VL: There is a big difference. Last year the V10 was limited, we could not develop our STR1, while all the other teams have had the possibility to improve their cars. This year we can compete on the same level as the other teams, with a competitive V8 and a brand new car. Bridgestone will assist all the teams in getting the best out of our cars.
Q: There is barely a couple of weeks to go until the season-opener in Melbourne - what impact will the late start to the teams testing have during the first couple of races? Gerhard Berger hinted that there may be a lack of performance
VL: As I said before, this is the reason why we will certainly struggle at the beginning of the season, as we try to find all the best solutions for the car that we should have searched for during the pre-season tests. Starting so late we will have to do it at the races Im not scared anyway and Im really positive.
Q: This year it looks like it will be two veterans - David Coulthard and Mark Webber - and two youngsters - yourself and Scott Speed - under the one roof at Red Bull. Do you expect to learn from or compete with your sister team?
VL: Formula One is competition on track and family in the paddock. This concept is reflected very clearly in the Red Bull circus.