Tonio Liuzzi has ruled out Force India fighting for victory again at the Belgian Grand Prix, but the Italian believes his team can aim for a podium finish.
Last year, Giancarlo Fisichella finished in second place at Spa, having fought a race-long battle with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen after having started from pole position, the first for Force India. Liuzzi believes that putting on a similar performance will be difficult this time around, seeing how competitive the top teams are, but the Italian reckons the characteristics of the track still make it possible for his team to aim for a strong showing.
"I think we will be again pretty competitive," said Liuzzi. "To match last year, I think it's difficult because last year was the first one with new rules, different cars, there was the KERS...
"I think now some teams have improved a lot in drag and in top speed, so I don't think we will have the advantage of last year, but I still believe that we are in good shape to aim for a podium. We said at the beginning of the year we wanted to achieve a podium and I think we can fight for it.
"It's not easy, as the others are not sleeping in their development, but our car should be well suited to the track and we showed in Canada that we have really strong potential on that kind of circuit. I think in Canada, without the problem with Felipe at the first corner we would have finished in the top five. So I'm confident that we can have an interesting weekend."
Although Force India has not scored points in the last two races, Liuzzi believes the team has not lost any of its competitiveness. He reckons the field is so closely matched now that mistakes are most costly, but he is confident Force India will return to the points soon.
"I think in the last couple of races we have been unlucky. It's not that we have lost pace," he said. "The other teams have caught up, but we still developed really strongly – we have similar pace compared to Renault, and it's just that Sauber and Williams came closer. It's a much tighter field, so every little mistake you pay for.
"I don't think we went back. It's just that at the beginning of the season there was a much bigger window between the top 10 teams. But I'm positive that we'll be back in the points soon and we will still fight for sixth place in the championship, which was always our target."