Hispania Racing pair Tonio Liuzzi and Narain Karthikeyan are focused on trying to secure a double finish from the opening round of the new F1 season at Albert Park.
The pair go into the season opener in Australia without any running in the new F111 after the car was unable to turn a wheel in pre-season testing, with any running completed over the winter coming in last years Dallara-designed F110.
Despite not driving the car, Liuzzi – who joins the team after losing his seat at Force India – said he was confident it would be an improvement on the model it replaces although he said the aim for the first weekend had to simply make it to the chequered flag without any problems.
“It's difficult to predict how the car will respond here since we didn't get to test it in Barcelona, but I'm sure the areas we concentrated on developing will prove to be a significant improvement from last year's car,” he said. “The aim for the weekend is to come away with a clear picture of the car, making sure that all the new regulation items work well. If both cars make it to the chequered flag at the end with good pace and reliability then the weekend will have been a great success. Hopefully in this 2011 season we will take a giant leap forward and set some solid bases for the future.”
Team-mate Karthikeyan meanwhile will be back in F1 for the first time since his single season with Jordan back in 2005 and he agreed with Liuzzi that reliability has to be the first target for Hispania in the season opener.
“Even though it was disappointing to not be able to drive the new car in Barcelona, I'm sure the car is a significant step forward from last year's,” he said. “It certainly looks the business, we just have to wait until Friday morning in Melbourne to put it all into practice. I think Albert Park will be a great place to start off with the new F111 since it's not a very demanding track.
“For a new and unproven car such as ours, I think that reliability is something we need to work on before we can start to extract the maximum performance, so I believe that if both cars finish the race, we will have had a satisfying weekend. Once Tonio and I have driven the car in Melbourne, we will both have a better understanding of what to expect for the rest of 2011.”