Buoyed by recent performances in China and Turkey, Hispania Racing's Tonio Liuzzi believes that the Spanish team can continue to surprise people as F1 moves into the heart of its European campaign.

Although the Italian, and team-mate Narain Karthikeyan, continued to prop up the list of finishers at both races, they were happy with the improved reliability shown by the F111-Cosworth, as well as the fact that very little continued to separate them from the two Marussia Virgin cars in practice and qualifying, and Liuzzi insists that, with a continued focus on development, the team can improve further.

"The Spanish Grand Prix is the best opportunity to show the world and the fans that Hispania Racing is putting a lot of effort into the team, now and for the future, and is on the right path for success," he claimed, "Barcelona is also an important race because we're at a stage in the championship where you start to see the real pace of all the teams, as pretty much everyone has some upgrades and you can judge better everyone's pace.

"Unfortunately, we weren't able to test as much as we wanted here in winter, and that's why every race is a great test for us. We have to focus on all parts of the car as if it were a test because of the time lost in winter but, if we're able to get all the updates we were planning, then I think we'll make a big step forward - and might even impress quite a few people.

"Everything is going in the right direction, if we keep progressing and working as the team has until now then I'm sure we'll have a bright future."

Hispania will be on home soil for the fifth grand prix of the season, racing its second-ever Spanish Grand Prix, and Karthikeyan is looking forward to sampling the atmosphere at the Circuit de Catalunya.

"The Spanish Grand Prix is a home grand prix for the team so, undoubtedly, this will be a special race," he noted, "Last time I raced here, in 2005, I really enjoyed the track and the atmosphere and, this time round, with the Hispania Racing fans in the crowd cheering us on, it will be even more special.

"It would be a huge boost to our fans if we were to do well in Barcelona, and I am hopeful that the new updates on the car will take us the next step in a positive direction. The support from the fans is nice, but we still need to work as hard as ever to have a good weekend - there are no shortcuts to that."

Although he conducted the limited testing carried out by HRT in Barcelona over the winter, the Indian was at the wheel of last year's troubled F110, but he remains confident that the team will be able to use the data gathered to kick-start its weekend.

"I've done many laps here over the past few years, especially in pre-season testing this year, where we drove mostly in wet conditions with the 2010 car, so I know the track very well," he continued, "It's one of my favourite circuits as it's quite technical and very challenging for both car and driver.

"The engineers have a lot of experience at this circuit so they will be able to start us off with a good baseline set-up, but we still have a lot of work to do to get the ideal set-up for the new F111. We've still got a long way to go in terms of extracting the maximum performance from our car, but we've been learning and improving every weekend since Australia.

"It's hard to quantify the gain in performance we will achieve with the new updates but, hopefully, it will take us past our nearest competitors on the track. I think the progress has been quite steady, we've been improving every weekend and I'm hoping that the trend continues in Barcelona. Even though there haven't been many overtaking opportunities at Montmelo in the past, with the long front straight, I'm sure that the DRS will produce a lot of overtaking moves, just as it has done in the last couple of races."

 

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