• Tonio Liuzzi's exclusive column

Liuzzi's fight through the field

Tonio Liuzzi
September 14, 2010
Tonio Liuzzi had a special helmet design in Italy for his home fans © Sutton Images
Enlarge
Related Links

We missed out on even more points at the Italian Grand Prix, the car was capable of seventh or eighth but we finished in 12th. But I don't have any regrets from the weekend; it all stemmed from an engine problem in qualifying and there was nothing I could have done to prevent that.

Everything was fine on Friday and we had a very strong pace but on Saturday morning we had an issue with the engine itself. It was pulling back and having some weird reactions so we just did a few laps in the morning and we couldn't really find out what was wrong from the data.

We tried to change a lot of things in the morning and it didn't work, so we did a few laps but without much success. We changed a lot of electronic stuff in the engine but it still didn't completely solve the problem. Halfway through my first qualifying lap we had a big issue and we had to stop completely and that was the end of it. It was a shame because it's the first time we've had an engine problem, which are very rare with the Mercedes units we use. We've been perfect all the way through the year and unfortunately the issue came at a good track for us.

That was the end of it because qualifying was completely screwed after that. We completed one lap, but it was already with problems, so P20 was my starting position. I suppose on the plus side I was ahead of the Virgins and HRTs.

I don't want to sound as if I'm always making excuses but we've had a few problems with the car this season, with the chassis at the start and then with the F-duct - although that's understandable because it's a very tricky system to use. My team-mate Adrian Sutil has had better luck but I know Force India always try to have both cars to the same specification. They try to give both drivers the same chance, but there have been a lot of problems with my car that Adrian hasn't had and that is clear in the data and has an effect on our lap times. You can see where the problems are that cause me to lose time in the data, but unfortunately most people only see the time sheet with the difference between the drivers and they don't know the real reason for it.

Tonio Liuzzi battled past the Sauber of Pedro de la Rosa as he moved through the field © Sutton Images
Enlarge
On the plus side the start of Sunday's race was enjoyable as I fought my way back through the field. I made up five places on the first lap and then I came out on top after good fights with Jaime Alguersuari and Pedro de la Rosa.

In the second half of the race everybody settled into more of a rhythm so it was more difficult to make progress. At the beginning of the race people are still trying to find that rhythm and find their pace so it's easier to make a pass. In the second part both Sebastien Buemi and Rubens Barrichello ahead of me didn't make any clear mistakes in driving so it was impossible to get an advantage out of it.

We tried to stop earlier to see if we could pass them in the pit stops, and we came close but it wasn't enough. We were really strong in sector one, but a bit slower in sector two so that made overtaking difficult and the race a little bit frustrating. The gap between the cars was going up and down and that's maybe why we didn't have a clear possibility to overtake.

But it was definitely the right decision not to run the F-duct this weekend, it put me in the most competitive position possible. When we tried it on Friday it was difficult to make it work and find a good balance between speed and downforce. The other teams that used it had the right amount of downforce for the F-duct but our car had too much downforce and drag when we had the F-duct on. It was a bit too much of a compromise to run it and it wasn't going to pay off for us. For Monza it was a good choice to go without it.

The sharp eyed among you might have seen that I was wearing a different helmet design last weekend. I try to make my helmet special for the events that are really special for me, so I did it for Monaco and Monza. It's for the crowd, for feeling at home and a way of greeting the spectators and my fans.

Tonio Liuzzi finished 14th in Singapore last year © Getty Images
Enlarge
Singapore is up next and it's a circuit I enjoy. It's quite a technical circuit, and I don't think it's one that will suit our car the best but I think it's a race where you never give up because lots of things can happen and change the course of the race. The team is working hard and we will have another update ready for the car, so that is always a boost heading into a grand prix weekend.

Some people compare it to Monaco where we were competitive this year, but there are some big differences. You cannot make mistakes at Monaco but at Singapore and the other new downtown circuits there is much more run off area and you often get a second chance. Monaco is completely different because you cannot relax for a moment and if you do you are in the wall - that is what makes Monaco so special. Singapore is more like a regular circuit but in a city. Technically it is quite similar in terms of downforce and mechanical set-up but the driver's approach is slightly different.

I'll still try and make as big a difference as possible in the cockpit and do everything I can to make up for the points we missed out on in Monza.

www.liuzzi.com

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Feeds Feeds: ESPN Staff

ESPN Staff Close