Fernando Alonso believes Vitantonio Liuzzi deserves another year at the pinnacle of the sport.

Liuzzi's future is currently uncertain, even though he has a contract with Force India for F1 2011. Indeed there has been speculation for some time now that the Silverstone-based outfit is trying to extract itself from that agreement and only yesterday chairman and team principal Vijay Mallya added further fuel to the rumours by saying a decision on the teams driver line-up will be made within a 'few days' and that only some 'legal loose ends' - dissolving Liuzzi's contract perhaps? - need 'to be tied up' [see separate story - click here].

While that may or may not be true though, Liuzzi himself remains defiant and earlier this month he shrugged off the latest rumours and made his position crystal clear.

"I was told and I read something [about the 2011 line-up] on the internet, but these rumours have been around since the half of the championship," Liuzzi told 422race.com a few weeks back. "A lot has been said over recent months, but I have nothing to say at the moment.

"My situation is clear. Force India hasn't informed me about any change and, for me, only the words of the team count. I'm pretty calm, because I have a very clear deal with the team for the 2011 season and, if they should decide to take other routes, they know what they are facing."

Meanwhile, Alonso has now come to his defence and reckons the 2004 Formula 3000 champion - the precursor to the GP2 Series - does have what it takes to succeed at the top level.

"Italy has always produced excellent drivers in the past. Jarno Trulli and Giancarlo Fisichella, for example, are both incredibly talented," Alonso told formula.hu. "And as far as Tonio is concerned, he is developing. He's a great talent.

"But he's perhaps not yet had the opportunity to drive a car to allow him to maximise it."



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