16 January 2012
Liuzzi 'still an HRT driver'
Tonio Liuzzi insists that he remains committed to the HRT programme despite uncertainty over his race seat.
With few opportunities existing to remain on the F1 grid in 2012, veteran Tonio Liuzzi is hoping that his multi-year deal with HRT stands him in good stead, although he is the first to admit that his chances are, at best, 50-50.
The Italian has made no secret of the fact that he has a couple of years to run on the deal that he signed with previous HRT owner Jose Ramon Carabante, but admits that, with Thesan Capital having taken the helm midway through 2011, the contract may not be as watertight as it was a few months ago. More importantly, however, two factors are also playing against Liuzzi when it comes to retaking his seat in 2012
"When I decided to sign for this team, there was a different ownership, Carabantes', who had different project to Thesan Capital, who is more nationalistic,|" the Italian told 422race.com, "Their project is a Spanish one, to get Spanish sponsors, which is changing the drivers' management as well.
"At the moment, everything is very vague. The main problem is that the team have no budget, so they are evaluating the way to get the money to have two drivers. I'm still tied to HRT, because I have a deal for two more years, but everything is still to be defined, because they are looking for sponsors. For sure, they would like to keep both me and Pedro [de la Rosa], but we are still in standby.
"I'm not judging, I'm very realistic. I understand the situation inside the team and, at the moment, we're trying to solve the situation as soon as possible, because the championship is close."
Despite the uncertainty, Liuzzi insists that he remains fully involved in what the team is doing as it attempts to dig itself out of the uncompetitive hole it occupied in 2011.
"I'm fully part of the project at the moment, because I'm still a team driver," he confirmed, "I'm aware that things may change any minute, as it can change in all other
teams. Currently, the deals are worth very little, because a young driver with money can always come and buy the seat. That's how it works.
"But I'm completely part of the development programme. The new car is going on and should be ready for the first test in Valencia. We are confident that we should do a big step forward. For sure, we will still have a long way to go, because the 2012 car won't be in the points, but will be much better than in 2011.
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