Who better to analyse the first half of the season than a seasoned campaigner in Formula 1 as is Vitantonio Liuzzi. Leading the way for HRT Formula One Team this season, Tonio defines both his and the team’s performance as solid in these first 11 Grands Prix. It’s been a road with many obstacles but the Italian has dealt with adversity sensibly and with a constructive attitude. Without a doubt, his conviction and willpower led him to achieve the team’s best result of the season so far: a 13th place finish in Canada which helped the team leapfrog Virgin in the Constructors Championship. This is just the beginning of the history Tonio and HRT are building together.
What is your evaluation of the season so far?
It has been a positive one. It has been challenging but we have made good progress since Australia. The steps taken and reliability have been good and we managed to overtake Virgin in the Championship. The development slowed down a little with the changes in ownership but now we are a consistent structure and we are looking strong for the future.
On a personal note, how would you rate your first half of the season?
I would say that we have done well. I have had a few unfortunate DNF’s but, overall, the speed is better, we are more competitive and we are racing with other teams, which is the most important thing. I give myself an eight out of ten.
What was your target at the start of the year for the midpoint of the Championship?
We would love to be ahead of Team Lotus but it is not an easy target, especially if you look at where we started in Australia. But we are on the same points and have half a season to improve and try and achieve a better position in the Constructors Championship. We are following the right path and are in the right place.
What is your main objective for the second half of the season?
The main focus is to keep on growing and try and consolidate a solid structure. We must focus on the 2012 season but without leaving 2011 aside. We still have quite a few races ahead in which to try and beat our direct rivals. It is not an easy target but we are fighters and will keep on pushing.
What would you say to the skeptics that don’t believe in this project?
A lot of people didn’t believe we would come through at the beginning of the year but I have always been really positive. As I have said on many occasions, there are good people involved in this project and the potential is there. If we work in the right direction, I’m sure we can achieve good things. I never doubted that there was potential for improvement, obviously we are not expecting to win races but to be where we are already is proof of the strength of the project. If you believe in yourself and in the project then you can achieve anything.
Of the remaining circuits which are you most looking forward to?
I would have to say Monza as it is my home grand prix. But I’m also looking forward to Spa which is a track I love and a place where you see many crazy races.
What has been the highlight of the season so far?
Definitely Montreal with the 13th place finish. It was a crazy race – which took five hours- and ended up being an amazing weekend after achieving the best result of the season so far.
Come the end of the championship, what would you consider a successful season?
I already consider it a successful season but if we could achieve our biggest target of finishing 10th in the Constructors Championship, then that would be perfect. But we have to be realistic and continue pushing to show that we are competitive. We have to improve our pace compared to the leaders from now until the end of the season.
What are your plans for the summer break?
Basically to rest. I’m going to Greece and Italy to see my family. But even though we have three weeks off, I will still be focusing on the target and will be in touch with my engineer. I will continue with my training because we cannot give up, it is an important season for myself and the team so we can’t stop developing.