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Pirelli can make racing more exciting

Tonio Liuzzi November 24, 2010
Tonio Liuzzi got his first taste of the Pirelli tyres at the weekend © Sutton Images

Last Saturday I got my first opportunity to try the new Pirelli tyres and I have to say that it was definitely a positive first impression.

I was expecting a much bigger difference between the two tyre manufacturers [Bridgestone and Pirelli], but in fact we only had to modify the set-up a little bit and after a few changes we found a decent balance straight away. For sure, the tyres wear in a different way but you have to consider that the track had been rubbered in with a different brand and that can complicate things. The rear tyres tend to wear a bit quicker than with the Bridgestones, so that is why a lot of drivers were reporting more sliding.

During the longest runs it felt like we were losing a fair bit of grip at the rear, but we are confident that Pirelli will address that issue and change that for the start of next season. They are pretty fast tyres overall and pretty good in terms of graining.

There have been some calls for the tyres to degrade quicker in order to improve the show, and that could be something Pirelli do on purpose. It was something Formula One Management and the FIA were pushing for and, personally, I think it could be something really useful for making the racing more exciting next year. We would see more pit stops and the performance of cars trailing off later into the race, which would add to the excitement.

There is always the concern for the tyre manufacturer that it'll get bad press if the drivers complain about tyre degradation, but I think we would accept it if it makes the racing better. We would all be in the same situation, and if it's making racing more exciting then it's better for everyone in the sport. I'd be behind it if it makes it easier to overtake and means the driver has to be smarter to manage the tyres.

During the test we were trying to run the car as close to the 2011 regulations as possible and that included setting it up with the fixed weight distribution that the FIA has set for next year. It's a very short range, and in theory that can make setting up the car difficult, but it's the same for all the cars and I'm sure most teams will have no problem working the tyres properly.

I'd say our car didn't look bad at all, so I think we've got a good understanding and will be in good shape with the work we have already started on the 2011 car. Of course, we'll be back in the simulator this week to use the extra knowledge we now have to take next year's car in the best possible direction. I think we will be in very good shape for the beginning of the season.

Tonio Liuzzi is confident he is staying at Force India in 2011 © Sutton Images
We will also have to factor in that the tyres will be continually developed by Pirelli ahead of the start of next year. But I think it will be mainly fine tuning and the general feel of the tyres will be much the same as it was at the Abu Dhabi test. It will be more of an update rather than a brand new tyre.

Of course the other issue that I'm still getting asked about is whether I will be at Force India next season. As any regular readers of this column will know, I'm pretty confident because the team gave me the signal that everything will stay the same and I have a contract. For sure, Formula One is a very particular business where sometimes you don't know until the last minute, but I still feel comfortable and I think everything should be set up soon.

I think my manger and I have a good relationship with team boss Vijay Mallya, and he has always been very positive towards me. I don't feel like he wants to change anything, but we'll just wait and see. Until there is an announcement from the team it is a bit of a headache for us, but that's all part of driving in Formula One.