Tag Archives: Paul Di Resta

Can Liuzzi hang on?

Vitantonio Liuzzi has been comfortably outpaced by team-mate Adrian Sutil this year

Vitantonio Liuzzi has been comfortably outpaced by team-mate Adrian Sutil this year

This is the third attempt Vitantonio Liuzzi has had in Formula 1. Only 2 of those should really be taken into consideration though, as his first stint with Red Bull was an absolute mess, as the driver rotation system left him on the sidelines far too often. Despite this, he has had plenty of time to adjust to F1, but he still hasn’t made the grade.

This season, he has been comfortably outpaced by team-mate Adrian Sutil in practically every race. He has been out-qualified 6-1 by Sutil, and that would have been 7-0 if it wasn’t for Vitaly Petrov’s crash in Monaco qualifying. So, the question is, how long can Liuzzi hang on for? Because there is increasing pressure from many sides to see him go, most notably from talented rookie test driver Paul di Resta.

As we can see here, his pace against Sutil has been very poor in the first 7 races, being out-paced in all but one race: (Don’t forget Sutil was in a first-lap collision and had an engine failure in the first 2 races)

Bah Aus Mas Chn Esp Mon Tur Points
Adrian Sutil 12 RET 5 11 7 8 9 22
Vitantonio Liuzzi 9 7 RET RET 15 9 13 10

In his entire 51 races in Formula 1, I have only seen 2 notable performances. The first was his drive to 6th place at the 2007 Chinese Grand Prix. However, this was overshadowed by him still being beated by team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who was 4th. The second good drive was Italy 2009, where he was in contention for a podium, before a transmission failure ruled him out. That was his first race returning to F1, but he has been unimpressive since then.

Some people will argue that some of it is just bad luck, and Liuzzi may well have the pace to match Sutil. However, this next chart says differently. This chart puts Sutil’s and Liuzzi’s qualifying performances together. Since qualifying is low-fuel, it is an excellent opportunity to show true pace in a driver.

(Note: If one driver was knocked out in Q1/Q2, then the other driver’s time will be from that same session, to ensure similar track conditions when the times were set.)

Bah Aus Mal Chn Esp Mon Tur
Adrian Sutil 1.54.996 1.25.046 1.50.914 1.36.671 1.21.985 1.15.318 1.27.951
Vitantonio Liuzzi 0.627 0.697 1.34 0.49 0.869 -0.257 1.007

Worse still for Liuzzi, there is a very talented youngster in the sidelines waiting for an opportunity to drive in Formula 1. Paul di Resta has been competing in several Friday Practice sessions this year, and even with such limited milage has been showing potential. Shown below are Di Resta’s times comared to Sutil and Liuzzi:

Aus Chn Esp
Adrian Sutil 1.38.008
Vitantonio Liuzzi 1.28.192 1.23.284
Paul di Resta 0.345 0.61 -0.254

As we can see, on one occasion Paul di Resta has managed to beat Liuzzi, this time in Spain. The other time, Liuzzi was faster, but only by three tenths of a second. However, that was Paul’s first ever practice session, so that is a very poor margin for Liuzzi considering that. On the other hand, when Sutil was up against Di Resta, he comfortably beat him by 6 tenths.

In my opinion, Di Resta should get Liuzzi’s seat, preferably by the British Grand Prix. Don’t forget, this is the man who, in the 2006 F3 Euroseries, beat team-mate Sebastian Vettel to the title by 11 points. A talent like this doesn’t deserve to be wasting away in DTM, so I fee that Liuzzi should make way if he doesn’t improve soon. What do you think?

18th February- Testing results- Barrichello storms through the rain

Today in Jerez, we again saw the weather hamper runnings, but not without some good news. For example, Barrichello proved he has pace in the Williams, and the Virgin finally got up to speed.

Once again, as the session started at 8, the track was damp and required intermidiates. Unlike the other days, all the teams are pessimistic about the forecast. Inside Ferrari simply says on Twitter: “Nothing new at Jerez: just rain, rain and more rain to come…”

The good news is that Timo Glock was straight out of the pits today in the Virgin, and within half an hour had set 15 laps. But, he speared off at the Michelin corner (turn 2), and the red flags were out while his car was being recovered. When the session resumed, Felipe Massa led the way with a 1.30 time. At 9:00, Heikki Kovalainen made his first laps for Lotus, made 3 installation laps, but failed to set a time, and returned to the pits soon after. Yesterday’s power steering issue had been resolved, so the team were confident. Worryingly enough, Glock’s off was more serious than anticipated, as the doors to the Virgin garage were locked off as the car was taken apart for repairs. He didn’t actually hit anything when he spun, but it is believed thata mechanical problem of some sort caused the spin.

Timo Glock after spinning off

Timo Glock after spinning off

By 9:20, Ferrari were reporting a problem with Massa’s car, saying: “We have a technical issue: the stop will not be short… Nothing serious but it will take time to sort it out.” The rain soon got heavier, and more was forecast for later today. The rain got so heavy that all of the electricity sockets in the media centre lost power, because of electrical problems. Lewis Hamilton made the call for extreme wets at 9:40, and his fastest lap in his 5-lap run was a 1.36, showing how bad the conditions had become. By 10:00, the red flag was shown, not for an incident, but because there was so much standing water on the track. While the teams regrouped, it turned out that there was a problem with Kovalainen’s Lotus. It is unclear what happened, but a picture was taken, so you can see for yourself.

A problem in the Lotus pits

A problem in the Lotus pits

In fact, by 10:30, the weather was so bad the teams couldn’t even practice pit stops. The media centre apparently didn’t even have lighting, the journalist’s laptop lights were the only brightness in the room. Let’s make it clear, though, that this is nowhere near the monsoon we saw at Malaysia last year. Vettel, Kovalainen, Glock and Buemi all went out soon, but didn’t manage much, although Glock and Vettel did get good mileage in the conditions. By 11:30, Glock had finished a 13-lap stint, leaving him with 40 laps already under his belt. Plenty of cars braved the conditions, but few set good lap time, mostly in the 1.35 range. At 11:50, Kovalainen ran off at Turn 3, after an 8-lap run, and got stuck in the gravel. His front wing was badly damaged, so Lotus were forced to evaluate the damage to the car.

Heikki Kovalainen's Lotus being towed after his crash

Heikki Kovalainen's Lotus being towed after his crash

By 12:30, conditions were slightly improving, with no rain falling, but the track still wet and windy. Vitaly Petrov managed a 1.30.6, a good lap in those conditions. Everyone was still on extreme wets at this point. Rubens Barrichello was alternating betwen very fast and very slow laps, getting a 1.27 and a 1.35 in the same 17-lap stint. His best and worst times were 9 seconds apart, showing you how varying the conditions were. It wasn’t the rain that was hampering the team’s efforts, it was the wind. Inside Ferrari reported: “The wind is making the day even more troubled…” The good news was, the track was improving, as Petrov got into the 1.27.8 by 13:00.

By 1, everyone knew that the Lotus would be out of action for the day. Kovalainen was apologetic on his Twitter account, while Mike Gascoyne said: “Slight off for Heikki. Knocked off the front wing. Spare on its way but will not be here until 2am in the morning so no more running today” . “Conditions drying up so a shame not to get any dry running today”. Up to about 14:00, there was little change at Jerez, at the track still wasn’t drying out enough. Paul di Resta handed over his car to Vitantonio Liuzzi at 2, and he got stuck in immidiately, setting a 1.30.6 after 9 laps. Many teams had given up on conditions, such as Ferrari, who decided to practice pitstops, as the Williams crew watched them sometimes.

Pit stop practice for the Williams crew

Pit stop practice for the Williams crew

At 14:30, Timo Glock went out, and was the only man on track for 15 minutes, before Petrov joined him. Glock finished an 8-lap run, his fastest lap being 1.31, and getting up to 46 laps. He pitted, went straight back out, and instantly set a 1.30.4, only 3 seconds behind Barrichello. This pushed them up to 8th in today’s standings. Unfortunately, by 15:00, most of the teams were either practicing pit stops or testing race preparations. While many cars went out at the end for a final run, they were nowhere near the pace they needed, so it was a frustrating end to the day for everyone. Barrcihello’s earlier lap of 1.27.145 was the fastest of the day, followed by Petrov, Vettel, Rosberg, Massa, De la Rosa, di Resta, Glock, Liuzzi, Hamilton, Buemi and Kovalainen. Barrichello set the most laps, with 98, while de la Rosa only got in 8 in the morning. Barrichello’s fastest lap meant that 6 different teams have topped the timesheets in as many testing days. This is very good news for this season, even if most of it was in the wet.

The predicted floods never arrived, but it was close to it in the morning. The good news is, better conditions are forecast for tomorrow.

Update: Virgin have released a video of their day in Jerez. Clearly they had nothing better to do while it was wet :P (extreme Virgin joke reference possibility!)

Today’s times:


Driver Team Car Fastest lap Difference
# of laps
1. R. Barrichello Williams FW32 1.27.145 98
2. V. Petrov Renault R30 1.27.828 +0.683 56
3. S. Vettel Red Bull RB6 1.28.162 +1.017 70
4. N. Rosberg Mercedes W01 1.28.515 +1.370 71
5. F. Massa Ferrari F10 1.28.879 +1.734 92
6. P. de la Rosa Sauber C29 1.29.691 +2.546 8
7. P. di Resta Force India VJM03 1.30.344 +3.199 33
8.

9.

10.

11.

12.

T. Glock

V. Liuzzi

L. Hamilton

S. Buemi

H. Kovalainen

Virgin

F. India

McLaren

T.Rosso

Lotus

VR-01

VJM03

MP4-25

STR5

T127

1.30.476

1.30.666

1.31.633

1.32.678

1.33.554

+3.331

+3.521

+4.488

+5.533

+6.409

72

24

57

57

30

Pictures from today’s test:

Di Resta is Force India test driver

Paul Di Resta testing for Force India last December

Paul Di Resta testing for Force India last December

As I had earlier predicted, Paul di Resta has been announced as the third driver for Force India in 2010. As part of this, it has been announced that he will take part in Friday practice sessions with the team.

This raises the predictions that he will drive for the team in 2011. Di Resta was said to be “ecstatic”, saying:

“I think this programme is a perfect way to prepare fully and be ready to go if and when the chance of a race seat comes. I hope this will be the start of a long-term future with Force India.”

Paul di Resta is sponsored by Whyte & Mackey, who also happen to sponsor Force India this year. He also drove for the team at the December young driver test last year. He has been racing in DTM for the last 3 years. Before that, he won the Formula 3 Euroseries in 2006.

Di Resta set for Friday practice role

Paul Di Resta testing for Force India last December

Paul Di Resta testing for Force India last December

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has revealed that Paul di Resta is close to getting a deal with Force India that would see him take part in Friday practice sessions on race weekends.

Speaking to Reuters, he said:

“Paul will be running I believe in the majority of the Friday sessions (at grand prix weekends) for Force India, so it’s a great opportunity for him.”

“I’m happy for him. He’s going to push like hell to make his case to have a race drive at Force India during the course of this year.”

Also, he revealed that several midfield team were looking at this option:

“If you are trying to win a championship, to not allow your principal drivers the Friday session is not something we would contemplate,” he explained. “But it’s something that some other teams are looking at and it’s a great opportunity for Paul.”

My first thought is this: Why the hell is this being reported by Whitmarsh? Surely someone from Force India would have said this, if they knew it was happening. And anyways, it’s not Whitmarsh’s business, so he has no reason to go off  telling everyone about it.

More to the point, this is a great opportunity for di Resta. Test drivers rarely get a chance to prove themselves these days, so he will have to do his very best in these sessions.

Di Resta closing in on Force India drive (includes interview video)

Paul Di Resta testing for Force India last December

Paul Di Resta testing for Force India last December

Current DTM driver, Paul Di Resta, says that he is currently closing in on a contract as a test driver for Force India for this season.

He has driven a Force India before, in the young driver test last December, and impressed with getting 2nd fastest laps in 2 days out of 3. Regarding this test, Di Resta was happy, saying:

“Yeah. We had a very difficult year in the DTM last year. It did not get off to the best start but then, during the year, we started talking to Force India. And thankfully they gave me an opportunity to go down to Jerez and do three half days in the car.”

“It was a big opportunity and something I have waited a long time to do, to get a serious chance to drive the car, and it was very productive. We came out very strong and also moved forward and built a relationship with Force India.”

He is currently in negotiations with Vijay Mallya and the Force India team regarding a test driver contract for this year. Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi have already locked out the race seats. He stated:

“Things are moving along quite strong. Since the test for sure we have been in talks, and I would say we are about 90 per cent there. We are in the final stages of finishing off for the programme they have set and hopefully we can build a very long and strong relationship for me to try and race with Force India in the future.”

Di Resta also added that he may not be able to compete in DTM in the future with Merceedes, having spent 3 years with the team.

A full interview with Paul Di Resta, at the Autosport International, is available here:

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