Force India's Vitantonio Liuzzi has admitted that the Chinese Grand Prix was possibly his worst race weekend since joining the team full-time for 2010, but insists that he is ready to bounce back in Barcelona.
The Italian scored points in each of the opening two rounds of the season, in Bahrain and Australia, but now has back-to-back DNFs on his card, the latest coming when his brakes locked and took the hapless Sebastien Buemi and Kamui Kobayashi into retirement with him in Shanghai. With team-mate Adrian Sutil having a good weekend in Malaysia two weeks previously, Liuzzi remains behind the German in the standings as Force India's scoring run came to a halt in China.
"China was frustrating, the worst weekend we have had since the beginning of the season," the Italian sighed, "But you always hope that the bad luck comes in one go and then it doesn't come again.
"We had a really difficult Friday as, in the afternoon, we didn't get as much information as we would have liked and didn't have a clear picture. On Saturday, we had a stronger FP3 but, in qualifying, we suffered again with traffic, which was frustrating as we believed we had a pace that was good enough to get close to Q3.
"Then, in Sunday's race, starting from 18th position was always going to be difficult. We had to start really aggressively to try and get some points, but conditions were very difficult and, since Friday, we had had a problem with heating the brakes. During the formation lap, I couldn't get much heat into them and, then, on the damp track, I made a mistake in corner six. When I touched the brakes, it just locked the rear and, basically, we lost the car.
"That was the end of it, which was a real shame as we had a really good start, overtaking about three cars and everything was going to plan, but I underestimated that the brakes were not exactly at temperature. It was the end of a really difficult weekend, but we haven't lost faith in our potential, as we know from the first rounds we have a good pace."
With a full opening day to prepare for round five - Liuzzi was replaced by test driver Paul di Resta on Friday in Shanghai - the Italian is confident that he can return to form in Barcelona this weekend.
"Every race has its own story and, in China, everything went wrong, but we always thought we could be very strong for the Barcelona race," he confirmed, "In the final winter test, we had a good pace, I like the track and the car seems to fit the track characteristics well now. For me personally, I have turned the page after China and am really looking forward to the European season where I want to get back into the points at each round."
Along with its rivals, Force India will introduce a raft of developments to its VJM03 for the Spanish Grand Prix, and Liuzzi is hoping that the changes can maintain the team's performance.
"Sustaining this development rate is not just important, it's crucial," he pointed out, "All the other teams are bringing their own updates, so we need to keep pushing to maintain our position. Our aero department is doing a great job as, at every race, we have more and more developments, which keeps our heads high and makes us positive. Each step is a good update that helps to rebalance our car in the few weaker areas we have. I think we are in good shape now and we need to get the most out of it and continue scoring points."