Exclusive Tonio Liuzzi Q&A: Theres more to come from me 03 Oct 2009
After giving everyone a reminder of his speed and talent in Monza, in Singapore Force Indias Vitantonio Liuzzi struggled for pace compared to team mate Adrian Sutil. In Suzuka things have gone from bad to worse, but with Liuzzi the latest to succumb to the flu-like bug sweeping through the paddock, he was expecting a tough time. The young Italian is now hoping to feel better for the race on Sunday and is dying to show that hes in the car for good reason
Q:How difficult was it to jump back into racing without any testing?
Vitantonio Liuzzi: At the beginning it was a bit of a shock, but I like fights and challenges. Of course at the beginning you want to show your potential, and how quick you are. For sure, there is much more from me to come.
Q: Were you surprised how quickly you were able to adapt to the car and get up to speed again?
VL: Not really, as I was always racing in my head. I have also always tried to kind of virtual test, which was also only in my head. Particularly in Monza, which is not a very difficult track, as it has not so many corners, the crowd helped me a lot. If you are an Italian driver racing in front of your home fans this pushes you a lot. Of course the first weekend could have gone in two totally different directions, and I was happy that it went in the direction of me getting used to the car very quickly.
Q: We've seen other drivers come in during the season and struggle to adapt to 2009 cars. Did that ever concern you?
VL: At the beginning it was a big question mark for me, as I had not driven this car at all. And yes, I was concerned, but I was very sure for myself that I could drive this car and get up to speed. After such a long time of not racing in Formula One the hunger for racing grows bigger and bigger.
Q: You've been out of Formula One racing for two years now, how does it feel to remind everyone how quick you can be?
VL: It was really great to see how many people were happy for me that I got a race seat and that people still did not forget about me. For me it was very important to show that, if the car is competitive, I am able to fight for points, or even a podium.
Q: With in-season testing banned this year, you haven't done much running. How have you kept yourself 'race-fit'?
VL: Besides the usual workouts that we do, for example in the gym, I have raced in some other categories, like A1GP and Speedcar. That has helped me quite a lot to keep myself sharp. So during this I realized that I had not lost the hunger for challenges and fights on track.
Q: How hard was it to watch the races from the sidelines over the last two years?
VL: To be honest, it was killing me. But I knew that I would be back in the race seat some day, so that was what kept me motivated.
Q: Is there extra pressure on you because of Force India's improved form?
VL: I do not feel pressure from the team, but in Formula One it is always as if you are waiting just before an exam. So the pressure is generally very high, but already in my first two races I have shown that if the car is competitive I can be there. The team is supporting me a lot, and this is very important for me, and it showed me that they never gave up on me.
Q: How difficult is it to replace a driver with the experience of Giancarlo Fisichella? Do you feel that you have the experience to work as well on set-up?
VL: Of course. Also I do not feel like a rookie, as this is now my fifth year in Formula One. I also feel Im in a position where I could take over the role of leader in a team. Of course Giancarlos experience has always been very important to the whole team and we have learned a lot from him, but it was the same from me, as I brought experience to this team as well. It was time for a change, and I think it was good as it went.
Q: Will you be able to keep the Force India drive for 2010?
VL: I am very close to Force India for the future, that is for sure. With Vijay (Mallya) we will sit and talk after I have completed the five races, and we will see what is best for me and for the team. I have quite a good feeling that I have a good chance to stay at Force India.
Q: How did todays qualifying go for you? You ended quite far away from your team mate on the timesheets
VL: Today we made some mistakes on the set-up, and it was just not possible for me to get a better grid position. Also my physical condition was not the best, so it was not a perfect day for me at all.