After a run of bad luck in recent races, highlighted by the first lap assault from Felipe Massa in Japan, Tonio Liuzzi bounced back in style in Korea. After the most difficult afternoon imaginable he emerged with a solid sixth place, earning Force India some valuable points in the fight for sixth place in the World Championship.
He also set the fifth fastest lap, beaten only by Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton and Massa. We asked Tonio about a memorable afternoon in Yeongam.
You’ve had some bad luck recently, to say the least! What does it mean to get a good result? “We needed a race where things were going well, nothing was going against us, nobody crashed into us and there were no problems, all the sorts of things that happened in the last few events! So finally we had a good race, and in such difficult conditions. We showed again that when conditions are tough we can be in the game. The team did a great job in the pit stop, deciding the right moment to change the tyres, and the stop was really quick. Everything was perfect.”
How bad was visibility at the original start? “Conditions were really difficult out there. At the beginning it was the right call to start behind the safety car. It was strange, it was a bit like Fuji three years ago. You couldn’t see much ahead of you, you couldn’t see much apart from the lights on the steering wheel! You couldn’t see anything, basically, and inside the cockpit was a lake. It was a full of water! It was difficult.”
What were conditions like for the restart? “It was a bit better, the amount of water. And it was good to stay a few laps behind the safety car, because it still wasn’t good enough. The problem was the track can be dangerous because you reach high top speeds and you have walls beside it. It was not like Monaco, where if you crash in the rain it’s not a big deal, because it’s much slower. In Korea you could hurt yourself, that’s why it was a good decision to stay behind the safety car.”
Did everything go to plan once the race got underway properly? “We had a really strong race. We didn’t make any mistakes after that, we made the right overtaking moves at the right time, everything was done at the right moment, so it was fine. We tried to save the tyres in the middle of the race, to make them live until the finish. We were fast as well, we had a good balance, and it paid off at the end.”
How important was it to have a strong result like this? “The first thing I said on the radio to my engineers was the luck had to turn one day, sooner or later! Fortunately we were able to show that when things are going right, we are there, and we are fast, and we are ready to do great things. It’s good to see this, and we hopefully can have the same kind of result in the next few races.”
What did you think of the Korean circuit? “I enjoyed the track. They did a good job, and it was much better than some other new ones. Everything was done perfectly.”
You had a crash in qualifying in Brazil last year. Are you looking forward to going back and having a strong weekend? “In qualifying we were fast in the rain, but we had a big aquaplaning, so it was a shame. But I like the track, and I think we can be quite competitive there.”
Source: Force India F1