Vitantonio Liuzzi has conceded that he is 'used to starting from scratch' as he bids to 'put all the pieces' of the Hispania Racing puzzle together after signing an eleventh-hour agreement with the team to contest the F1 2011 World Championship – phlegmatically musing that 'Rome wasn't built in a day'.
Liuzzi completed the 2011 driver jigsaw when it was announced yesterday (Wednesday) that he is to partner F1 returnee Narain Karthikeyan at HRT this year [see separate story – click here
], in so doing salvaging a stop-start grand prix career that had looked set – not for the first time, it must be noted – to be cast onto the scrap heap.
As it is, the Italian now has a fresh challenge to look forward to, and a challenge it undoubtedly will be. The new F111 has yet to even turn a wheel and is likely to benefit from a scant two days' testing time ahead of the fast-approaching Australian Grand Prix curtain-raiser in Melbourne – albeit making it two days' more testing than was achieved by the small Spanish outfit last year – and he acknowledges that transforming the team from a struggling backmarker into a respectable F1 contender will not be the work of a moment.
“In my F1 career I'm used to starting from scratch, and we'll work twice as hard to find speed and reliability,” Liuzzi told Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport
. “Of course it's not a helpful situation [debuting the new car so late] – it's a bit like a puzzle where we have to put all the pieces together now – but I know full well that Rome wasn't built in a day.”
The 29-year-old – whose previous employers include Red Bull Racing, Scuderia Toro Rosso and Force India F1 – has also amicably separated from long-time manager Peter Collins in favour of beginning 'a new era' with Enrico Zanarini, who formerly looked after the careers of Eddie Irvine and Giancarlo Fisichella, whilst it has been reported that he received a €2 million pay-off from FIF1 for terminating his contract a season early. The past, though, Liuzzi insists, is now just that – the past.
“From my side, apart from many incidents – of which many were not my fault – nothing went wrong,” he reflected of his ousting from the Silverstone-based squad to make way for rising British hope Paul di Resta, “only that I'm not the boss of the team and the one who puts the money in made another choice. In any case, there is no reason to think about it anymore, and anyway we know F1 is like that.”