Q & A with Tonio Liuzzi

After one of the most difficult weekends of the season for his Force India team in Germany, Tonio Liuzzi is cautiously hopeful the Silverstone-based squad can bounce back in Hungary

Q & A with Tonio Liuzzi

AUTOSPORT talked exclusively to the Italian, who voiced his thoughts on the team's predicted pace around the Hungaroring and the effectiveness of its new technical developments on straightline speed.

Q. Last weekend at Hockenheim was a disaster for the whole team. Was it just one of those events to forget?

Vitantonio Liuzzi: It was definitely the hardest weekend of the season because started really strongly but everything went wrong. With all of the good results we've had this season, a weekend like that can always happen. Everything started to go wrong on Saturday, but then in the race we had some problems. Once we got clear of all of the problems and the traffic we had really good race pace so that made us feel a lot better - at least we were still competitive. We just need to turn the page and look forward to this race.

Q. Hungaroring isn't regarded as the perfect Force India track. Do you expect to be in the battle with Renault, Mercedes and Williams?

VL: In Hockenheim we showed in the race that we were pretty strong and maybe even stronger than the teams you mentioned. It's right that the track shouldn't suit our car, but we believed that Monaco would be a hard race for us and we were really strong there. That makes us feel pretty confident that we can aim for points. It's not going to be easy because a lot of teams brought developments for the last races but we have some updates here as well and we are pushing forward with the blown diffuser. We will use it on one of the two cars [team-mate Adrian Sutil's] here tomorrow. It won't be an easy weekend, but we are aiming for points.

Q. Are you confident that the blown diffuser will work and be usable in the race?

VL: This year we saw a lot of developments coming and every time we had a positive result. The F-duct was unknown when we used it for the first time in Turkey and it gave us some problems. But from the second event that we used it is was perfectly usable. We always brought updates with a reasonably good believe that it works. For here, we didn't have enough time to bring that part for both cars and we wanted to see if it worked because it's a really difficult part to make work because of heat shielding and temperature problems. We're quite confident that it could be all right but we have to wait and see on Friday and we'll see what will happen.

Q. Has the car completed a straightline test fitted with the exhaust blown diffuser?

VL: No. But the team has done a lot of work on CFD.

Q. So the first thing tomorrow is to check the fundamental such as whether there are any temperature problems?

VL: Definitely - the basic thing is to see if there are any temperature issues even though this could be one of the worst races because every year it's so hot here! That's why we want to have an aggressive test to see if we can use it without any problem in the future.

Q. Looking at the competitive pattern for Force India this season, the qualifying performances haven't been so strong in recent races. Have you lost some ground as a team or have circumstances like track temperature etc gone hidden the pace?

VL: We have show that we are always there and we are always strong. The thing is that in the last few events we didn't achieve 100 percent in qualifying because we had some things that didn't go the way we wanted. But other teams have also developed. In the beginning there was a bigger difference between us and teams like Williams. We have still kept a strong pace compared to the leaders, but it is now a much tighter fight even though I believe we are still at the top of it. Before we had three or four tenths, now it's maybe one tenth. It makes things harder for us, but if things go well then we are still ahead.

Q. Are you still suffering from your straightline speed problem?

VL: At Hockenheim it was not a problem but at Silverstone there was an issue with the stallable rear wing, which wasn't working 100 per cent again. But at Hockenheim it was not a problem so we seem to be pretty confident. Here, top speed isn't a problem so it won't be an issue, but the deficit that we had in Silverstone was not there for Hockenheim. We're confident that it will be alright for the future.

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