• Tonio Liuzzi's exclusive column

A breakthrough race

Tonio Liuzzi
May 18, 2010
Tonio Liuzzi scored two points in Monaco © Sutton Images

After finishing ninth and scoring two points in Monaco, Tonio Liuzzi explains how he regained his mojo and responds to rumours Paul di Resta is a rival for his Force India race seat.

Monaco was an important race for me for a number of reasons and it was great to get a few more points, both for my total and the team's.

First off, Monaco is the type of circuit where everyone knows the driver can make a bit more of a difference. It's a big balls circuit because we get so close to the guard rails and a good lap time is so dependent on you're feeling within the car. You can't rely on the aerodynamics as much, so a driver has to work hard to control the car in the slow corners by getting a good feel for braking and feeding the power back on.

We had a really good pace right from the first session on Friday and improved the balance on low-fuel runs. We've made a few changes to the car and they've worked really well to get rid of the problems with rear grip I was having in Spain. My laps in Q1 and Q2 were very good, but in Q3 I had a big locking of the rear wheels into the chicane and the car snapped out on me. We probably lost out on about three of four tenths on that lap, which would have been worth another place on the grid.

In the race the team tried bringing me in early for tyres but it didn't really pay off and I lost a place to my team-mate Adrian Sutil. I was stuck behind Nico Rosberg before I pitted, so we tried to find a gap in the traffic after the tyre change to slot me into. We thought we would pass a few cars as a result but, as you know, Monaco can change lap by lap because of safety cars or traffic so it didn't work out. Overall it was not too bad though as the team didn't lose any points overall.

It was definitely a crazy race though, right up until the last corner when Michael Schumacher passed Fernando Alonso. It's difficult for a driver to know what to do in that situation and I wasn't sure what the rule was while I was out on track. But when I asked my team if it would be ok to overtake they told me that I was not allowed to pass until after the chequered flag. So for us it was clear but I guess Mercedes saw it in a different way.

Tonio Liuzzi blasts through Casino Square © Sutton Images
Away from the racing, there has been speculation that Force India's reserve driver Paul di Resta is in competition for my seat. I am not worried about these rumours; speculation is always at the door and all over the papers. I have a contract for two years with Force India and they believe in me and I believe in them, so our relationship is very good. They know exactly the problems I was having in China and Spain and they know that it was not due to anything else. Also I scored points at the first two races and again in Monaco, so they can see that I'm very much fighting for the team to meet its targets. It really doesn't worry me that this sort of stuff is printed and it's quite normal that you get this kind of speculation when you are competing at the highest level.

The good news is that in Monaco we sorted out a lot of the problems we were having. It was important for me to find a way to make the car work, because in the last two races we had some issues with the balance of the car and a lack of grip from the rear end. The set-up we found on Saturday overcame a lot of our problems and, although Monaco is a bit of a one off, I think that what we learned will be very useful for the future. So I'll be heading to Turkey in two weeks feeling confident and it's another circuit I really like so we should do well.

We're sixth in the championship now and that is a fantastic achievement if you consider where Force India was last year. Ahead of us we've got Renault and they are definitely starting to look like a tough cookie. Robert Kubica is doing really well in the championship and the team is doing a good job with their car. The only positive thing is that we are sort of two against one at the moment because Vitaly Petrov is struggling to consistently get into the points. The problem is, that with the current point system, when you finish in the top four positions you get way more points than if you finish where we are. So even though they might be just a little bit ahead of us, it is often enough for Robert to break into the higher positions and score a lot more points. But, for sure, it is up to us to keep improving our car and we won't give up the chase.