Vitantonio Liuzzi is hoping to finalize his Formula 1 future in the next few days after making his testing debut for the Hispania team at Barcelona yesterday. The Italian, who raced for Force India last year, is a contender for the second Hispania seat alongside Narain Karthikeyan, but admits that he is also chasing a possible third driver role with other teams.
Liuzzi is well regarded by HRT team principal Colin Kolles, who wants to have a more experienced driver in his lineup, but there are also a number of others in contention for the seat. Today, former Formula Renault V6 champion and sometime GP2 racer Giorgio Mondini is in the car.
"We will wait and see," Liuzzi told AUTOSPORT when asked about his prospects of landing the drive. "HRT needed someone to test the car who could drive the development and engineering side.
"They were really happy to have me in the car for a day and we agreed to do this day of testing to get to know each other and see if there is any way for the future. In the next few days, we'll see what will happen. I'm still finalizing my situation, but there is a chance to be there for the future."
Liuzzi endured a difficult season for Force India in 2010, suffering a number of mechanical problems that prevented him showing his full potential. He is determined to stay involved in F1 in some capacity in 2011 and believes that a reserve role would be a good alternative if he fails to land a race seat.
"For a race drive, it's very difficult because it's well known that HRT is the only available seat," he said. "There are some third driver possibilities, but I don't think that there is one choice pointing me one way or the other. I'm evaluating the situation, but at the moment it's a big question mark. Nothing is done yet.
"My desire to win is still the same and that's why I want to stay in F1 because I don't think that I have had the chance to shine. F1 is where I want to be."
He said that the car did not compare significantly unfavorably with the Force India he drove last year.
"It has all of the feelings of an F1 car. It's well-known that the aerodynamics are the key to a fast car in F1, so that was the biggest weakness. The mechanical side is good and the Cosworth engine was very competitive. For a team with such small resources, they are doing a very good job," he said.
"The new car will be an interesting step forward. I saw some things about the new car and it will be interesting for HRT to get into a position to fight with the next group – maybe Virgin or Lotus. The team has got an interesting program. They just need to increase the budget and the people – all of the things F1 teams need.
The Italian added that the team made a positive impression on him, convincing him that Hispania has the potential to grow in F1.
"There is still a lot of work to do and a big window of improvement, but they have a good group. There is real potential for the team to improve because there are good people. So despite the work needed, I was impressed."