- Tonio Liuzzi's ESPNF1 column
'The first small step on a long road'
After a mixed Turkish Grand Prix, at which he outqualified a Virgin's Timo Glock but lost out in the race, Tonio Liuzzi tells ESPNF1 what's in the pipeline for the coming races.
We were having a positive weekend but sadly it all came to nothing due to issues with my right-front wheel during the pit stops. If it taught us anything it is that we need to improve in every area - not just the car specification and aero package, but also the team needs to improve in the way we approach a race weekend. We didn't have any issues like that in the other grand prix so we have to learn why that happened.
On the plus side we had a much stronger performance in qualifying compared to the first couple of races. We showed that we are on the way to achieving our mission and we're proving that we are delivering on our promise of improving the car race by race and pushing hard. Mr Carabante [HRT owner] and Dr Kolles [team principal] have high targets for the team this year and we are showing that we are moving forward. [Technical director]Geoff Willis is doing a good job in the aero department and everybody is improving. Qualifying at Turkey was the first little step on a long road, but I think we are doing a good job considering we are a small team with a small budget.
We definitely have a better pace in qualifying than in the race and that's something we need to work on. The main reason for that is because we lost a lot of winter testing and we still don't have a lot of information from the tyres. Friday practice is a good time for us to make up ground in that area, but in Turkey it rained in the morning and on other Fridays we have had some problems so we haven't achieved many long runs. There is still a lot that we need to learn and discover but the race pace should come as we get more experience with the car.
We had some little upgrades in Turkey but unfortunately it was not the entire package we were targeting for this grand prix because we had some issues in manufacturing. These kinds of delays happen to all teams when they are pushing really hard and everyone is still doing a really good job back at the factory. So we didn't have the full package that we wanted and that was worth some pretty big numbers. We are hoping that we will see all of those bits and some more in Barcelona and that should result in quite a big step forward.
The blown diffuser is becoming a big battle ground at the back of the grid and Lotus and Virgin are clearly working hard in that area. We are also planning our own version and we could get it on the car for Barcelona, but if not it should be ready for Monaco. A Formula One season is really tight and when you are a smaller team everything is a bit tougher. But we are working very hard to achieve this and if we can get the whole package we are planning for the car at Barcelona we will make a big step forward.
I've got some experience in that area from last year when I was at Force India and we were developing something similar. So my part in the process this year is to try and make sure we make the right decisions at the right moments. Geoff, all the other engineers and I are always sitting together to work on the technical side and upgrades, and so far they have offered the improvements Geoff said they would. I'm confident that when the blown diffuser does come to the car it will give the effect we want.
Working on improving the car keeps me motivated and I still have the hunger to win - there is no doubt about that. Of course the reality is slightly different as we are not racing for wins. But I knew that would be the case when I started the season and I am happy that we are fighting to score some points in the future. My hunger is still there to win and in the meantime I will show what I can do as the car improves.