- Tonio Liuzzi's exclusive column
'In Formula One you can never totally switch off'
After the back-to-back grands prix in Germany and Hungary, it's nice to be able to have a long break because with our job it is difficult to find free time to see friends and stay in touch with family. So I'm in Mykanos in Greece, chilling out, resting a bit and generally recharging the battery.
Having said that, in Formula One you can never totally switch off. I'm always in regular touch with my engineer over the phone because even when you have a break, it is important to make sure you're as well prepared as well as possible for the next race because you know the competition will be doing the same.
With almost a month between races, it's also important to keep as fit as possible because we are involved in such a physically demanding sport. So I've been doing three to four hours training in the gym for five days a week with a couple of days of to re-charge. But it's important not to stress yourself too much during the break because it is such a long season. Of course, our personal trainers aren't with us but they tell us which way to behave and not to overdo it. But we're not in a fitness camp, so they allow us to relax and have a few drinks but not lose focus because we need to approach the second half of the season with our batteries fully charged.
Having time off also allows me to reflect on the first half of the season and evaluate what went well and what could have gone better. We started the season really strongly and were really positive about the championship and until the sixth or seventh race we were looking pretty strong for the remaining rounds. We did not do as well as we would have liked in the last two or three rounds but I think it was more due to having unlucky incidents than losing the pace of the car and we still could have scored some points, although maybe not higher than ninth or tenth. With Williams and Sauber also improving, one small mistake can put you out of the points. But I don't think we've lost pace and we are still really confident of being back in business in the second half of the season. Overall, I think the team has to be happy with where we are in the championship.
Next up, it's Spa and I'm really looking forward to it. Spa is my favourite venue and I love the circuit because it is a mixture of adrenaline and technique. It has a great mix of really high-speed and technical corners and there is nowhere else like it that gives you the same adrenaline rush. It's the most beautiful circuit on the championship calendar for me. Of course, it also rains a lot at Spa and you can have some parts of the circuit wet and others dry and I quite like it because it makes things more exciting. For sure it is not easy to handle and luck can play a part because you need to be in the right place at the right time to make a decision on tyres and make the right call on the pit stop. But I don't mind it when things get tough during the race because it makes it more exciting.
Obviously, we enjoyed a great race at the venue last year with Giancarlo Fisichella finishing second and I think we are still capable of a top position and why not, a podium could be possible again. We are pushing hard to bring our blown diffuser in for Spa and we had good ideas of how to make it work before shutting down for the break. After testing it in Hungary, we are pretty confident we will have it for Spa.
Our aim for the remainder of the season is to push hard to keep the sixth position in the championship and to try to catch Renault too. Williams has made a big step forward but in a way I think they have shot a lot of their bullets already and for us to have the blown diffuser on the car will make us a lot better because the time difference is big for the cars that have it. In a funny way, we may reach the position we were at the start of the season in relation to the rest of the field!