Force India's VJM03 made its testing debut at Jerez today, and Tonio Liuzzi was entrusted with putting the first laps on the new car.
Despite the day being marred by rain, the Italian ended the session pleased with the car and optimistic about the season. Here's what he thought about it.
Q. The conditions weren't ideal, so how much of a feel for the car could you get with the few dry laps and then the wet running you did?
Vitantonio Liuzzi: We had a quite good and interesting run today. The most important thing to check for us was that everything was running fine and that reliability was good and this went pretty well. The car reacted well in every condition and did everything that it should do on a first day of testing. The speed is not clear because we don't have a clear benchmark but I think that everything reacted well. The car showed good performance and reliability.
Q. How did the VJM03 feel to drive compared to the 2009 Force India?
VL: In the dry it showed really good balance. In the wet, it was a little bit more nervous but we had so many different conditions during the day that it rained, stopped raining, it was wet and intermediate so it was difficult to judge. Overall I had quite an optimistic feeling about it and I'm looking forward to the next days to see if we can confirm what we felt today.
Q. The car's weakness last year was downforce in slower corners. Could you feel any improvement in that area?
VL: It's difficult because of the wet conditions that we had most of the day. In the few laps I did in the morning in the rollout it was pretty good and it felt more sticky compared to the previous car. That gave me a positive feeling and that's why I hope tomorrow will be dry to understand more about it.
Q. What is your approach to this year after the challenge of being thrown into the car at Monza last year?
VL: This year, we have got more time to prepare for the season, but we showed in the past that it was not a problem to jump into the car because straight away at Monza we were on the pace. Even if we were not 100 percent we would have finished in the top five. It's not something that worries me that much, I just hope that I can get used to the car. The aim is to get in the points straight away at Bahrain.
Q. Did your performance in last year's Italian Grand Prix give you a big boost for this year?
VL: For me, no. The important thing is that I give 100 percent for me and for the team and that when the car is there I can be there and fight with the big names. It's not something that worries me, but maybe sometimes it is good to remind people about this.
Q. What are your hopes for tomorrow?
VL: That we can get the maximum laps on the car. We didn't worry that much about the reliability because we did 70 laps. Hopefully tomorrow we can do more laps in the day and understand more about the car. The benchmark will be the Barcelona test, but here we need to take away all of the details that are not perfect.
Q. Are you worried about losing more days to rain having missed three days of dry running at Valencia?
VL: If you are not 100 percent ready to do something, it is better that you wait. We now have three more days here and four days next week so I don't think we will be that unlucky and go to Bahrain without testing in the dry. Missing Valencia was a good decision from the team because we needed to be completely ready and now we are.