- Tonio Liuzzi's exclusive column
'I bend but I don't break'Tonio Liuzzi November 9, 2010
It was an up and down weekend overall and it ended with a pretty big shunt on lap 49. We think it was the front left upright that failed, but the team will bring the car back and analyse everything at the factory this week.
Unfortunately it damaged the monocoque and that makes it two chassis we've got through in three races after Felipe Massa took me out in Japan. The other bad news is that the replacement chassis is an old crash-test chassis and not in brilliant condition. Fortunately, it's just for the last race and we will have to do the best we can with what we have.
Personally, I just have a little bit of a bruise on my ankle because a piece of the suspension punctured the monocoque, but it's okay and won't be an issue at all - I'm still in one piece. It looked like a big accident on TV but it wasn't so bad from the cockpit. I bend but I don't break.
In the first part of the race we had a problem with the front brakes locking and I think we also went with the wrong strategy by starting with the soft compound. We were struggling a lot during the first 15 laps, with a lot of graining and the brakes overheating, but once we changed to the prime compound I found a really good pace. We had a strong middle part of the race but it all became academic when we had the shunt.
We knew it was always going to be an uphill struggle from 16th on the grid anyway, and our problems are really rooted in qualifying. We have to understand what happened on Saturday, because after final practice we were optimistic we could get close to the top ten with both cars. But in Q1 the car was really low grip, locking front and rear brakes, and we were missing out by a whole second in the final two sectors compared to the morning. We couldn't understand that because we hadn't touched a thing on the car between the two sessions, but for some reason the car was behaving differently.
The slightly more concerning stories that came out of the weekend were about a couple of muggings and Jenson Button's close call with armed assailants on his way to the hotel. Fortunately everything was okay for us, I had a little problem with some bags but not like the issues other people had. I have to say that I love Interlagos because there is always such a great atmosphere and fortunately I have never faced those kinds of issues. You have to be careful as it's not the safest location we visit and for sure you don't bring your shiny watch or things like that.
In terms of Force India's constructors' championship position, the damage in Sao Paulo was limited because Williams grabbed just a few points even though Nico Hulkenberg started from pole position. Looking at the situation and the pace I think it will not be easy, but Abu Dhabi could be a crazy race because there will be a lot of people fighting for the championship and anything can happen.
The main problem for us is that Williams has made a huge step forward over the last few races, and Sauber as well, and that's something we cannot control. Our development team has been pushing on but I think the other teams have done a bit better with their development in the second half of the season. But that's part of the business. We are a small team and we have to accept the upgrades will not be as easy to make.
In Abu Dhabi we have to aim for points, at least a couple to keep in the fight with Williams. But things are not going to be easy. Last year Abu Dhabi was not one of our favourite circuits and the car was not at its best. I think we can still race hard and try to get some points, but we already know it's not going to be an easy weekend.
After the race we'll complete some tests on the new 2011 tyres. I am really looking forward to seeing what Pirelli has made. We'll have a new generation, as Pirelli has been out of F1 for a long time, so I am keen to see what they are capable of and it will be an interesting first test. I'm taking part on the last day on Saturday, and I'm looking forward to getting a glimpse of what it will be like next year.
As for the title fight, I believe Fernando Alonso will win it because in these conditions he does everything possible to win and doesn't make mistakes. For sure Red Bull is still the fastest car but I think they will risk too much and Fernando will do it.