Vitantonio Liuzzi has described the upcoming Japanese Grand Prix as one of Force India's 'big chances to increase the gap to Williams' in the hard-fought duel over sixth spot in the F1 2010 Constructors' World Championship – as he admitted that Suzuka is 'a real man's circuit and one of the toughest of the year'.
One of the toughest of the year it inarguably is, and by the same token, Liuzzi's Singapore Grand Prix outing last weekend was one of the shortest of the year for the Italian, with an opening lap retirement following contact with Sauber returnee Nick Heidfeld scuppering his hopes of scoring any points from down in 17th on the grid.
Backing up the conviction of FIF1 team principal and chairman Dr. Vijay Mallya that Suzuka will far better play to the strengths of the Mercedes-powered VJM03 than did Singapore [see separate story – click here
], Liuzzi makes it clear that he is eagerly anticipating the challenge that lies ahead.
“I know Suzuka well as I raced there in 2006 and then again last year,” reveals the 29-year-old. “It's one of the 'old-school' circuits still left in the championship like Spa and Monza – it's a real man's circuit, and one of the toughest of the year. We saw last year that the wet conditions can also really upset the balance, so it takes every bit of concentration you have and you must be on top of your game. I really enjoy the high-speed technical corners, especially the first sequence where you have to be very accurate.
“Based on our performance since the summer break, I would say our car is better-suited to this kind of circuit than the high-downforce tracks, so I believe this will be one of our big chances to increase the gap to Williams. I was disappointed to go out so early in Singapore and not be able to help the team, but it was a racing incident that we just have to accept and hope won't happen again at this really important stage in the season.
“We've got a couple of new aero tweaks to improve our performance this race, so that will be a big help in this battle, but most important will be pulling together as a team and really focussing on what we have to do.”