Tonio Liuzzi remains confident that Force India can resist Williams' challenge in their battle for sixth in the constructors' championship, despite the latter team having been faster in recent races.
Liuzzi's breakthrough sixth place in Korea, where tire problems saw both Williams drop back late on, leaves Force India three points ahead with two rounds to go. In recent months, Force India has struggled for pace in qualifying in particular, but Liuzzi thinks it will still be possible to fend Williams off.
"After the race in Korea, I think we came here really optimistic that we can still fight for sixth place in the championship," he said in Brazil today. "For sure it's not going to be easy, but maybe a bit of difficult weather conditions could help again, because we showed that in those conditions we are really strong. In dry conditions we can fight, but it could be a little bit less easy.
"But we came prepared with some upgrades in the car – we changed something in the exhaust and in the floor and have some aero upgrades, little things, but this is the end of the season where you reach the end of development. We'll keep trying, until Abu Dhabi we won't give up."
He does not think there is much to choose between the teams in race trim, even though Williams is now a Q3 regular whereas Force India rarely gets beyond Q2 at present.
"We accept the fact that Williams seems faster in qualifying, it seems that they can extrapolate something more out of qualifying, but it's quite clear that in race conditions we become much more competitive," Liuzzi said. "We've got a lot of good results still even though Williams in qualifying seems to be clearly ahead of us."
Liuzzi does not think the sixth place in Korea will make any difference to his own performances, as he insists he never let his earlier problems and speculation about his future affect him, anyway.
"In myself I am exactly as relaxed as before, because I never did worry about all the speculation that there's been about the seat, so I was really easy-going. It was something that didn't touch me at all," he said. "I feel OK and am still as motivated as before. It was just a confirmation of what I always said, that we had a lot of bad luck and a lot of problems in the car in previous races, but when it would be OK, we would be there and we would get results."
Force India has still to announce its drivers for 2011, but despite speculation linking test driver and DTM title contender Paul di Resta with his seat, Liuzzi said he was relaxed.
"At the moment, we're concentrating on finishing sixth in the teams' championship and then we will see, but I feel OK because my link with the team is on good terms, so I don't see any problems," he said. "For sure you have talks with other people as normal. People approach you and talk to you, and then you make your decision."