• Tonio Liuzzi's ESPNF1 column

'I had to brace myself and take my hands off the wheel'

Tonio Liuzzi September 13, 2011
The moment of impact: Tonio Liuzzi was involved in a big first corner shunt at Monza © Getty Images

It was a short weekend for me unfortunately. The accident at turn one was a real shame because, even though we were starting from last position, we had an amazing start and got past Daniel [Ricciairdo], both Virgins and we were going faster than the Lotus of [Heikki] Kovalainen. I went to his inside because there was a lot of space, but when I was side-by-side he basically pushed me to the right and pushed me onto the grass. It was a bad combination of him veering to the right and the track narrowing with the start of the grass and I found myself with nowhere to go.

Once I was on the grass I completely lost control of the car because we were nearing the braking zone and I couldn't slow down properly. Once the car was on the grass there was no stopping it and I ended up crashing into Petrov and Rosberg. I'm really sorry for them because they were just passengers in this sequence, but it wasn't my fault.

Once I knew that I couldn't control the car anymore I just had to brace myself and take my hands off the wheel to prevent any hand injuries. I was basically going sideways across the grass knowing I was going to hit an unlucky car so you just have a few seconds of thinking empty things and then wait for the shunt. Fortunately nobody got hurt, but it was still an unfortunate situation because it was not done on purpose.

I came away with a five-place grid penalty for Singapore and I accepted that, but it doesn't mean I agree with the decision of the stewards. They said that I caused the accident at the chicane, but this is not what happened out there. I'm not going to reject the stewards' decision, and at the end of the day it doesn't change much for us in Singapore, but that doesn't mean I agree with it - I know it wasn't my fault.

At the end of the day we crashed out on a weekend when we had a relatively good chance of a decent result. I qualified 24th but that was more down to who got a tow on Monza's straights in qualifying than anything else. There's always a bit of confusion on the outlaps at Monza because some people behave like kids in terms of brake testing other cars to get the slipstream. Of course a tow can be really important, especially for slow cars like us, but I didn't want to play those games on the outlap so I just did my qualifying by myself.

Tonio Liuzzi is expecting a tough race in Singapore © Sutton Images
I then gave the chance to my team-mate Daniel to use my slipstream and at the end of the day he beat me by 0.2s because of that. Slipstreaming is something you learn to do in the smaller categories and I don't mind it, but for me the priority is improving the car because we are not fighting for pole or to even to get into Q2. After qualifying I was actually very optimistic that we'd have good race pace but obviously we didn't get to find out.

We have some challenging circuits coming up that I'm really look forward to, but my biggest worry is actually Singapore because our car will hate the characteristics of the track. The car doesn't react so well over bumps, kerbs and in low-speed corners and Singapore has a combination of all these things - I'm expecting a tough weekend. I think that Suzuka and Korea will be better and hopefully we will push even harder to get some new upgrades because we have slowed down a bit in that regard in the last few months. We were supposed to have something in Monza but it didn't arrive and now it should come at Singapore, but we need to push harder because Virgin is looking more competitive and we need to consolidate our 11th place position in the constructors' championship.

For 2012 we have had a few discussions for next year's car with our technical group to make decisions about geometry and everything that needs to be prepared ahead of time. We are working hard for the future and we hope that soon we will have a better picture of where we will be. One thing I can tell you is that next year's car will be completely different to this season's and I don't think we are planning to carry any parts over. Everything should be a big step forward.