After failing to get beyond the opening lap in either Singapore or Japan in recent weeks, Vitantonio Liuzzi has confessed that his principal objective for Sunday's inaugural Korean Grand Prix will simply be to enjoy 'a proper race' – especially as he is convinced his Force India VJM03 has the potential to shine.
Liuzzi came into contact with the Sauber of experienced F1 returnee Nick Heidfeld under the spotlights of Singapore, but at least that race lasted longer for him than did the Japanese Grand Prix a fortnight later, in which the Italian found himself quite literally harpooned by the out-of-control Ferrari of Felipe Massa, who went shooting across the track into Turn One and straight into the side of him.
Having been denied what he contends was a strong chance to score points at Suzuka – and ostensibly under some pressure to hang onto his seat at FIF1 into 2011, with test and reserve driver Paul di Resta waiting patiently and expectantly in the wings for an opportunity to step up – the 29-year-old admits he is keen for a turnaround in fortunes and payback this weekend.
“After two very short races in Singapore and Japan, I now can't wait to get out there in Korea to get a proper race!” Liuzzi quipped. “There was nothing I could do about the outcome of my Japanese Grand Prix. I had a really good start and I was already past five or six cars as I went into the first corner, but then suddenly I saw Massa coming across the circuit at me like a rocket! I was just a passenger and didn't stand a chance. The real shame is that at that point I was in a brilliant position for the race, and we could have scored some very good points.
“[Since then], I've been in the factory and have had a day in the simulator to get to know the Korean circuit. My first impression of the track is that it will be a pretty nice one to drive. It has a lot of different types of corners, from slow to fast and it won't be easy to find a set-up that will suit every type of corner. I think the first sector with the long, long straights and tight corner into another straight will really suit our car; the second sector not as much, but we will see when we get there – so much will depend on the grip levels and the track surface.
“It will make Friday practice pretty busy as we look through all the data and try to get the most out of the car and tyres. We've got a couple of new tweaks on the car as well that will make the programme even more charged, plus I will have another chassis to use in Korea and for the last three races, as my car was very badly damaged in Japan.
“My goal this time out is of course to go the whole distance in the race and also to make the most of qualifying, as we have really been struggling in this area. We have found it hard to get temperature into the tyres over one flying lap and that means we've started further back, but we will try and understand it and see if we can improve. I'm looking forward to getting out there and doing a good job throughout the weekend – it's going to be an interesting one for sure.”