Vitantonio Liuzzi enjoyed his first day with Force India at Barcelona, as the Italian bids to impress the team in an effort to guarantee his Formula 1 future.

The former Scuderia Toro Rosso ace was in action for the recently-renamed Spyker outfit on day two of F1's first winter test since the end of the 2007 campaign, alongside regular pilot Adrian Sutil and ex-Honda test-driver Christian Klien, with whom he once shared the second drive at Red Bull Racing back in 2005. Though he was marginally the slowest of the trio - as all three were blanketed by barely a tenth of a second at the close of play - Liuzzi insisted it had been a positive experience.

"I think the day went well," the 26-year-old affirmed. "For sure I enjoyed it. With traction control there is a bit more action; you need some more concentration and have to work harder, especially over longer runs.

"I had some problems getting comfortable in the cockpit - which is normal after years at another team - and I lost maybe a couple of tenths, but I think we did some good work. The car has some small issues, but we can always overcome it - the team is very professional. I am just doing my best and seeing if we can work well together."

One of his potential rivals for the seat is former RBR team-mate Klien, who proved the quickest of the Force India drivers around the Circuit de Catalunya after completing a near-identical number of laps to Liuzzi. The Austrian - whose last F1 test was also with Spyker back in August - similarly professed himself satisfied with his day's work in Spain.

"I was pretty pleased with the testing," the 24-year-old asserted, "especially considering I had not tested a car since August. It took some time to get used to it again, particularly without any of the driver aids, but once I had settled in I could put in some good times and help the team with its programme. Doing 56 laps in just over a morning was pretty good and I'm looking forward to getting back in the car for some more on Thursday."

Sutil completed the most laps (105) for the team over the course of the day - and, indeed, of any of the 21 drivers present - and is likely to stay with the Silverstone-based squad for a second season in 2008, unless he is poached by McLaren to line up alongside Lewis Hamilton.

"We put in some long runs," the German explained, "which were very consistent and let us see really where the balance of the car was. At the end of the day it did not feel too different to the last races, as the car is the same just with the new electronics but without the traction control.

"It takes time for everyone to get used to it as it is very sensitive now and difficult to get the maximum acceleration. That was the main point - to concentrate on braking and acceleration, but it was also a day for me to drive and get used to the new package."

Chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne was happy to have enjoyed a trouble-free, comprehensive day's testing, as Force India continued to accumulate data on the new electronic control units and in total put more than 1,000km on the two cars.

"Generally a very productive day of testing," the Briton confirmed. "Our major test item was the standard ECU configuration. We had no major problems and worked to get through the unsolved issues, with both cars completing over 100 laps each. It was also a chance to test Christian and Tonio, who had their first runs in the car to make themselves comfortable. We will continue our programme [on Thursday] with them driving a car each for the whole day."

 

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