• Tonio Liuzzi's ESPNF1 column

'It was not so much down to driver skill but driver balls'

Tonio Liuzzi July 12, 2011
Tonio Liuzzi: "Silverstone was one of our toughest races" © Sutton Images
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Silverstone was one of our toughest races of the season and took place in really difficult conditions. At the start it was a track of two halves, with one side soaked near the old pit straight and through Copse, Maggots and Becketts, but the other side dry over by the new pit and paddock complex.

All the cars were suffering with massive aquaplaning and one of the straights had so much water on it that we couldn't even go full throttle. To be honest, the first lap was not so much down to driver skill but driver balls! It was really difficult to keep the car stable, not spin and make no mistakes.

The visibility was also really, really low and for some reason it was worse than other wet races we've had recently such as Canada or even Korea last year. But I like it when it is difficult and challenging. For sure, you don't know what to expect and you have to fight blind, but it also creates opportunities.

We had a good start and got past one of the Lotuses and one of the Virgins. We had a very good fight for the first seven laps but then, as we've seen at other races this year, we had a problem with the rear end. At the moment our car is taking the life out of the rear tyres more aggressively than others and that is why the Lotus overtook me. Then Jerome d'Ambrosio in the Virgin got close and had the chance to overtake me at the start of the second stint coming out of Luffied.

Tonio Liuzzi got a good start in difficult conditions © Sutton Images
We kept him in view for the next 19 laps but lost him when the leaders came to lap us. I have to say that at all the races this season we have been quite unlucky with the timing of the leaders lapping us, as they often come past and then pull into the pits. That's not a complaint it's just the way it is, but it costs us time. In the end we finished 18th and both our cars finished the race.

Daniel Ricciardo joined the team at Silverstone as a race driver. It was a difficult race for him to make his race debut at, although I don't really consider him a rookie as he's already completed a lot of kilometres in F1 cars. But still it was really difficult with the weather, the conditions and also it's not an easy track to be fast at. So I have to say that he learnt very quickly, helped push the team and it was a professional job.

Of course he is coming from Toro Rosso and Red Bull and it's important that we try to extract all the information we can to push the team forward. I think Daniel still has a lot of work to do to get the best from the Hispania car because it's very different to a Toro Rosso or Red Bull. But for sure he can bring some good information and we have to try to optimise everything so he can help us and we can help him because he is still young and inexperienced.

On the other hand I am sorry for Narain Karthikeyan because we had a very good relationship in the team and I just hope that this change doesn't destabilise the atmosphere we created. I think the team has been moving forward this year and it's important that we all keep pushing towards the same target.

Tonio Liuzzi leaves the pits at Silverstone © Getty Images
One of the biggest stories over the weekend was the rule changes regarding the off-throttle exhaust blown diffuser. From a driver's point of view it was really weird because 15 minutes in to the first practice session they changed the rules! But at the end of the day the FIA decides the rules, and whatever they do we have to accept - we are here to follow the rules. In the end I think it made things a bit more interesting because we had a different winner in Fernando Alonso and, who knows, maybe the championship could open up again.

I don't know exactly what will happen in the future regarding the rules, and after so many changes at Silverstone I will just wait until Thursday or Friday at the Nurburgring to know for sure. I'm sure there are a lot of talks going on behind the scenes because this is a very important item for a lot of teams.

For Hispania the danger is that we waste money on a technology that will not be used, but as I said we have to work with the regulations and bring the best possible car to each circuit. We hope there will be an absolutely final decision ahead of the German Grand Prix, although for us the difference between using it and not using it makes little difference and will not affect us as much as most of the other teams. Maybe going back to the regulations we had in Valencia will be a bit more helpful for our rear tyre wear, but we will not stand in the way of any decision.

Looking ahead to the Nurburgring in general, I think we can have a stronger race there because Silverstone is so dependent on downforce and was probably our toughest challenge this year. The Nurburgring should suit our car better and we will be looking to fight with the Virgins again.

Tonio Liuzzi gives his views at the end of every grand prix weekend

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Tonio Liuzzi gives his views at the end of every grand prix weekend Tonio Liuzzi has raced in Formula One since 2005, driving for Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Force India before landing his latest seat at HRT for 2011. He has been an ESPNF1 columnist since 2010, giving a driver's insight into every race weekend