Tag Archives: Vitantonio Liuzzi

New HRT F112 launched in Barcelona

HRT showed off their F112

HRT showed off their F112

HRT have finally unveiled their F112 car in Barcelona today.

After failing their initial crash tests, the financially troubled team will take part in a filming day today to shake down the car. However, the F112 has still lost out massively from not completing any realistic test laps before Melbourne.

The livery has again been revised from last year. 2011′s design proved to be a hit with the fans, though this may not be the case this year. The base of the car is white, with deep red and gold lines along the side.

The F112 appears to have a stepped nose like many of its competitors, but the lack of front-end pictures makes it difficult to analyse.

A team photo afterwards revealed that Vitantonio Liuzzi was to stay with the team, undoubtedly as a reserve driver.

2011 final driver rankings: 28th – 19th

This will be the complete ranking of each driver in 2011 based on their performances throughout the season. These rankings also contain clippings from previous reviews from 2011 and 2010. Without further delay, here are the first 10 drivers to be examined:

28th – Karun Chandhok

Chandhok had one chance for redemption and failed

Chandhok had one chance for redemption and failed

Previous ranking: 25th (2010 final rankings)

Review from last ranking: He has not been given the car to prove himself in the races.” (2010 half-way review)

The popular Indian driver’s season got off to a miserable start in Melbourne, crashing three turns into his out lap.

He was drafted in for a one-off drive at the Nurburgring, and was completely off the pace, spinning several times and resulting in Chandhok finishing 2 laps behind his teammate.

He made no impact at all during his practice session runs during the season, and his rejected attempt to drive at the Indian Grand Prix was embarrassing to say the least.

27th – Jarno Trulli

Retirement is still knocking on Jarno's door

Retirement is still knocking on Jarno's door

Previous ranking: 23rd

Review from last ranking: “Retirement may not be too far off the horizon for Trulli.”

After another season considerably out-paced by his teammate, its a wonder as to why Caterham will retain Trulli for next season.

Blaming most of his problems on a strange power steering issue, Jarno was still miles off the pace of Heikki Kovalainen after this had been fixed. The former one-lap master was out-qualified 16 times out of 19 this year.

He performed reasonably well in Monaco, but apart from this, it was a truly dismal season for Jarno. After Vitaly Petrov was ousted from his Renault seat, it makes you wonder will the Italian be seen in the paddock in 2012.

26th – Narain Karthikeyan

Karthikeyan impressed in India, but that was about it

Karthikeyan impressed in India, but that was about it

Previous ranking: 24th

Review from last ranking: “With disappointing pace in a lacklustre car, a replacement driver was inevitable.”

Many were very surprised to see Narain return in Australia after a 5-year absence, but that was basically all the impact the Indian had all year.

He was ousted after 8 races, but I was rather impressed with his one-off return at the Indian Grand Prix. Karthikeyan performed reasonably well in a car he had to re-acquaint himself with, and finished ahead of his teammate.

However, this was the only shining moment in a dull and uninspired season for Narain.

25th – Pastor Maldonado

It has been a dreadful debut for Maldonado

It has been a dreadful debut for Maldonado

Previous ranking: 22nd

Review from previous ranking: “If he is unable to turn this form into results, then there will be little future for Maldonado in Formula 1.”

The 2010 GP2 champion has given no reason as to why he deserves to be in Formula 1, relying solely on a substantial paycheck by his fellow Venezuelan backers.

Williams are known to be in trouble financially, and with their decision to float an IPO failing also, they turned to Maldonado to keep the team afloat. He may have done that, but Pastor hasn’t done much else. A single solitary point is all Maldonado has to offer at the end of 2011.

He performed well in Monaco, and was on course for a 6th-placed finish before clashing with Lewis Hamilton. However, he was less friendly with Lewis at Spa, deliberately trying to punt the McLaren off the track.

The last time a driver deliberately crashed in Formula 1, he was disgraced and essentially thrown out of the sport. I wouldn’t have minded if the same happened to Maldonado.

24th – Vitantonio Liuzzi

Liuzzi was well out-performed in the second half of 2011

Liuzzi was well out-performed in the second half of 2011

Previous ranking: 20th

Review from previous ranking: “Vitantonio has done well to demonstrate his prowess in a dismal car.”

In the first half of the season, it appeared as if Liuzzi had driven well, comprehensively beating Karthikeyan and giving HRT their best ever finish in Canada.

But, once Daniel Ricciardo was ordered to replace Karthikeyan, Tonio’s lack of pace was revealed, and his season began to unravel. In the 6 times where both HRTs finished, Liuzzi only beat the rookie twice.

Even when he was in front of Ricciardo, he was never definitively faster than him, and causing a multiple-car crash in Monza was the low point of what could be the last season for Liuzzi.

23rd – Jerome D’Ambrosio

D'Ambrosio has not done badly, but not well enough

D'Ambrosio has not done badly, but not well enough

Previous ranking: 21st

Review from previous ranking: “A first foray into F1 has not gone disastrously just yet for Jerome D’Ambrosio.”

For a rookie, D’Ambrosio was unusually quiet – and that’s not a good thing.

He failed to make a considerable impact at Virgin, but never disgraced himself either. A pair of 14th place finishes kept him ahead of Timo Glock in the drivers’ standings. His worst moment was probably Hungary, where he spun in the pit lane, almost taking his mechanics out with him.

An oddly anonymous debut is not what a rookie driver needs, although I’m still surprised to see him replaced by another rookie. Jerome had the potential to do better, and it’s been disappointing to see him leave F1 so soon.

22nd – Timo Glock

Glock deserves better after 2 lacklustre Virgin cars

Glock deserves better after 2 lacklustre Virgin cars

Previous ranking: 18th

Review from previous ranking: “He has consistently out-qualified D’Ambrosio, and is set to perform better as the season progresses.”

Another season languishing at the back is not what a talented driver like Timo Glock needs to progress his career.

He did his best to prove his worth – particularly in Monaco – but the lack of pace from the MVR-02 held him back.

While Lotus/Caterham continued their ascent to the midfield, all Glock could do was circulate ahead of D’Ambrosio and the HRT cars, and he generally did just that. We all know Timo deserves better, and with a move to a better team out of the question for 2011, next season looks like a similar struggle.

21st – Rubens Barrichello

Not much to talk about for Barrichello

Not much to talk about this year for Barrichello

Previous ranking: 17th

Review from previous ranking: “A horribly uncompetitive Williams is to blame for Barrichello’s slump, but being pushed by underperforming rookie Maldonado does not bode well for Rubens.”

Only two years ago the thought of placing Barrichello this far down the rankings would be unthinkable – the likable Brazilian has retained good pace throughout his 19-season career. However, 2011 was the indicator that Rubens’ career is on its last legs.

Two 9th places in a row was all that Rubens could manage for points. It was still better than teammate Maldonado, but Barrichello doesn’t come with financial backing, and that’s why he is most likely on the way out at Williams.

Uncharacteristic errors, most notably in Australia, marred Rubens’ season. It’s  been a strange few years for the veteran, having experienced the highs of Ferrari and Brawn, contrasting with the lows of Honda and Williams. Unfortunately, I suspect that we may have seen the last of Rubens Barrichello.

20th – Daniel Ricciardo

Ricciardo excelled where others could not

Ricciardo excelled where others could not

Previous ranking: N/A

Review from previous ranking: N/A

Many rookie drivers deliberately avoid joining an F1 team halfway through the season, to avoid being thrown out of the sport mere months later. I highly doubt this will occur to Daniel Ricciardo.

Drafted in at Silverstone, Ricciardo was on the pace from the get-go, and was beating Vitantonio Liuzzi after only 3 races. Red Bull are well known for backing the Australian’s move into F1, and it seems that their decision has been justified.

Daniel made no catastrophic errors, and mixed it with the Virgins and Liuzzi throughout qualifying and the races. Racing for Toro Rosso next season, I feel he can succeed where Buemi and Alguersuari failed.

19th – Pedro de la Rosa

Pedro de la Rosa did what was expected of him

Pedro de la Rosa did what was expected of him

Previous ranking: 19th (2010 final ranking)

Review from previous ranking: “HRT are reported to be looking at the Spaniard for 2011, but despite this, his future is in serious doubt.”

It may have been a year late this time around, but I seem to have developed a knack for predicting De la Rosa’s future moves in these rankings!

Pedro had little to do this year, making a sole appearance in Canada, substituting for the injured Sergio Perez. He performed the job as expected, finishing a rather impressive 12th in difficult circumstances.

Considering he had never driven the Sauber C30 before, praise is certainly deserved for De la Rosa. He will drive for HRT next year, and it will be interesting to see how he performs there. To make an attempt at 3 correct predictions in a row, I believe that he won’t make much impact in such a poor car  - and knowing HRT, he’ll likely get replaced halfway through the year.

Karthikeyan to replace Liuzzi for inaugural Indian GP

Karthikeyan will be racing at the first ever Indian Grand Prix

Karthikeyan will be racing at the first ever Indian Grand Prix

Vitantonio Liuzzi has surrendered his HRT race seat to Narain Karthikeyan for the Indian Grand Prix later this month.

The Indian driver most recently drove an F1 car in Friday practice in Singapore. While this of course is a move to generate further interest in the country’s first ever Grand Prix, Karthikeyan’s sponsors are also believed to be paying the team for this one-off drive.

After being replaced by Daniel Ricciardo halfway through the 2011 season, Narain has stated that he is looking forward to being back in the racing seat:

"Driving in front of the home crowd cheering on is going to be a surreal 
experience. [It's] a once in a lifetime experience and I feel extremely 
fortunate.

There is a huge buzz around the Grand Prix already and I’m sure that it’ll be 
a resounding success that will motivate more youngsters towards the sport and 
give us the future F1 drivers. Making it into F1 at the time I did was a 
seriously uphill task and the thought of being able to compete in the inaugural 
Indian Grand Prix was non-existent.

But it is finally here and I’ll be on the grid. It is going to be one of the most 
challenging circuits on the calendar. There are points at which, if you’re in an 
F1 car, you will see nothing but the sky.

The layout itself is going to put tremendous energy through the tyres and the 
strategy will play a key role in the final result. For sure I’ll race hard and 
try to get a good result for myself and the team. I would like to express my 
gratitude towards Tata Group and the rest of sponsors for their continued support 
and belief throughout my career."

5-place grid penalty for Liuzzi in Singapore

Vitantonio Liuzzi will take a 5-place grid drop for the Singapore Grand Prix after causing carnage on the first lap in today’s Italian GP.

Liuzzi took to the grass (not out of necessity) on the approach to the first chicane, but on returning to the track he moved to avoid a slower car, and spun. His HRT then slammed into Nico Rosberg and Vitaly Petrov further up the field.

The stewards have concluded that the accident was avoidable, and Liuzzi will almost certainly start from the back of the grid in two weeks time.

Here is a video of the accident (sorry for the awful music):

2011 mid-way driver rankings: 24-15

This is the bi-annual review of driver’s performances over the season. Improvements have been made from last year’s review, with an indication towards a driver’s performance the year beforehand being added.

This first article will tackle drivers from 25th to 16th place. Here are the bottom ranked 10 drivers:

Note: This article was written before the British GP, and so stats will not be fully up to date, and any performance from Silverstone will not be taken into account.

24 – Narain Karthikeyan

Karthikeyan was never going to set the world ablaze in a HRT

Karthikeyan was never going to set the world ablaze in a HRT

Ranking in 2010: N/A

Review from 2010 ranking: N/A

The 34-year-old’s return to F1 racing was never going to set the world ablaze, but with disappointing pace in a lacklustre car, a replacement driver was inevitable.

However, this may still be too harsh on Karthikeyan. The only driver he had to compete with was teammate Liuzzi. But, he has qualified behind Vitantonio at every race, and the average gap between the two is 0.639 seconds.

It is common knowledge that Narain excels in wet conditions. The only race where he has had an opportunity in this sense was Canada, but he still finished in last place, whereas Liuzzi scored HRT’s best ever finish.

With Daniel Ricciardo now at the wheel, perhaps both of HRT’s drivers can take the challenge to Virgin.

23 – Jarno Trulli

Trulli has lost out in his best skill - qualifying

Trulli has lost out in his best skill - qualifying

Ranking in 2010: 18th

Review from 2010 ranking: “2011 will tell us if he still has what it takes.”

Formerly regarded as a master of the one-lap qualifying run, Trulli has succumbed to being regularly beaten at every course by Heikki Kovalainen.

Long gone are the glory days of pole position and the win back in Monaco 2004. Jarno has been out-qualified by Kovalainen 6 out of 7 races so far, with the average gap being 0.34 seconds.

Two 13th places are better than Heikki’s best, but if his best asset is being soundly beaten, then retirement may not be too far off the horizon for Trulli.

22 – Pastor Maldonado

Without a single point, a bad review was always on the cards

Without a single point, a bad review was always on the cards

Ranking in 2010: N/A

Review from 2010 ranking: N/A

The 2010 GP2 champion had huge expectations on his shoulders entering the season, replacing Nico Hulkenberg. Unfortunately a disastrous start to his F1 career has left Maldonado second last in the driver’s championship.

A points finish was on the cards in Monaco, before a collision with Lewis Hamilton ruled the Williams out of 7th place. That kind of form has not been repeated anywhere else, with a 15th place in Spain being Pastor’s best result to date.

An impressive qualifying record has kept Maldonado from finishing last in this article. Pastor has qualified ahead of Rubens Barrichello 4 times, on average 3 tenths faster than the Brazilian.

However, if he is unable to turn this form into results, then there will be little future for Maldonado in Formula 1.

21 – Jerome D’Ambrosio

D'Ambrosio has been respectable so far

D'Ambrosio has been respectable so far

Ranking in 2010: N/A

Review from 2010 ranking: N/A

A first foray into F1 has not gone disastrously just yet for Jerome D’Ambrosio, with respectable results to his name, as well as occasionally beating his experienced teammate.

Two 14th places are slightly better than a solitary 15th managed by Timo Glock. In the 4 occasions where both Virgins have finished a race, D’Ambrosio has finished ahead of Glock 50% of the time.

He has out-qualified Timo on two occasions; however he has struggled in terms of the average qualifying gap (+0.56 seconds).

20 – Vitantonio Liuzzi

Liuzzi has done well in a poor car

Liuzzi has done well in a poor car

Ranking in 2010: 22nd

Review from 2010 ranking: “I would be hugely surprised if Force India were to retain him for 2011.”

The only car Liuzzi has properly raced against is Karthikeyan, and the Italian has done well in asserting himself as the number 1 driver in the team.

A clean sheet in qualifying, combined with beating Narain 4 times out of 5 in the races, proves Liuzzi’s good form. He managed a 13th position in the chaotic Canadian Grand Prix, achieving Hispania’s best ever result, one place off Lotus’ highest finish.

Many questioned the point of remaining in F1 after being ditched by Force India, but Vitantonio has done well to demonstrate his prowess in a dismal car.

19 – Heikki Kovalainen

Dominance over Trulli as expected, but Kovalainen is yet to challenge the midfield

Dominance over Trulli as expected, but Kovalainen is yet to challenge the midfield

Ranking in 2010: 15th

Review from 2010 ranking: “If Lotus deliver on their long-developed 2011 car, then Heikki will be the one to challenge the midfield.”

In 3 out the last 5 races, Heikki has out-qualified Jarno Trulli by over half a second. This dominance has allowed Kovalainen to become the driving force of Lotus in 2011.

2 mechanical retirements have beset Heikki, but he has still managed one 14th place so far this year. Despite his teammate getting one position better, Kovalainen has also led more laps so far this year ahead of Trulli.

With Lotus struggling to match the midfield’s pace, and Trulli’s future uncertain, it will be up to Kovalainen to secure 10th place in the Constructor’s Championship for the team.

18 – Timo Glock

Like Kovalainen, Glock excels in an underacheiving car

Like Kovalainen, Glock excels in an underacheiving car

Ranking in 2010: 21st

Review from 2010 ranking: “A much faster and reliable car is what Timo needs to get himself back up the grid next year.”

In similar fashion to last year, Timo Glock continues to push well above his weight in a very uncompetitive car.

While the Virgin team appear to be being pulled in by HRT, Glock has been chasing after Lotus, with varying results.  While he has only finished in front of one of these two drivers twice, three mechanical retirements have also held back Glock. Similarly, he failed to start the race in Turkey after losing fifth gear before the warm-up lap.

Despite these setbacks, he has consistently out-qualified D’Ambrosio, and is set to perform better as the season progresses.

17 – Rubens Barrichello

Barrichello has not unlocked the FW33's slight potential

Barrichello has not unlocked the FW33's slight potential

Ranking in 2010: 8th

Review from 2010 ranking: “Hopefully, Barrichello has a few more years left on the clock, and can lead Williams to their first win in years.”

A pair of 9th places is all the veteran has to offer so far, in one of the toughest F1 seasons in his 19-season career.

Once again, a horribly uncompetitive Williams is to blame for Barrichello’s slump, but being pushed by underperforming rookie Maldonado does not bode well for Rubens. The Brazilian is 3 tenths slower in qualifying on average compared to his Venezuelan colleague.

An ill-timed move on Nico Rosberg was the start to this poor season. Two mechanical failures have also undermined Barrichello’s hopes for points.

16 – Sebastien Buemi

Buemi hasn't underperformed, but much more is expected

Buemi hasn't underperformed, but much more is expected

Ranking in 2010: 17th

Review from 2010 ranking: “2011 is Buemi’s last chance to keep his race seat at Toro Rosso.”

With the news of Ricciardo joining HRT, Buemi’s seat is safe at Toro Rosso – for this year at least. While he has not been dominated by his teammate, many were expecting more from Buemi in his 3rd season.

Qualifying is where Sebastien gains an edge over Jaime Alguersuari. The Swiss driver has out-qualified the Spaniard 7 times out of 8, with an average gap of over 0.4 seconds.

However, finishing positions between the two appear to be generally the same, with Alguersuari having a slight lead on points. Toro Rosso have a tendency to drop drivers at the slightest sign of lack of pace, so many are asking why Buemi has been retained for so long.

However, it must be remembered that Buemi is well favoured by Helmut Marko, a man who doesn’t seem to mind leaning over one driver to serve the other.

Still, if Ricciardo impresses at HRT, then Buemi may still be under pressure for the race seat in 2012.

15 – Adrian Sutil

Sutil cannot let himself be beaten by Di Resta

Sutil cannot let himself be beaten by Di Resta

Ranking in 2010: 13th

Review from 2010 ranking: “2011 will be crucial if Sutil is to prove himself.”

Legal action with Eric Lux aside, there may be trouble on the horizon for Sutil. If Paul di Resta were to out-perform Adrian in the second half of 2011, then it could be a huge struggle for him to progress any further in Formula 1.

Di Resta has a huge lead in qualifying results, beating Sutil 6 times out of 8, with more than half a second in the average distance. Results haven’t gone the Scot’s way, so Sutil has an 8-point lead in the standings. However, it must be remembered that Di Resta, apart from being a rookie, has suffered poor luck in the races.

At times during his career, Sutil has been linked with a future drive for McLaren. However, if he is beaten by Di Resta in his first year, then Adrian will find himself shunted out of the way by the hotshot rookie.

Liuzzi confirmed at Hispania for 2011

Liuzzi is the last of the 24 drivers to be announced for 2011

Liuzzi is the last of the 24 drivers to be announced for 2011

Vitantonio Liuzzi has been announced as Hispania Racing’s second driver for the 2011 season.

He is the final driver to take his place on the grid, and he will race alongside Narain Karthikeyan this year.

Christian Klien was also in the running for the final slot, but Liuzzi was confirmed by the team today. Team principal Colin Kolles stated:

"Tonio is a very professional driver who will bring a lot of benefits to the team.

I have known Tonio for many years as he raced with me in lower categories.

I am convinced about his skills to develop a car and his speed. He has shown this in 
the past having contributed to a large extend developing and moving a back grid car 
to the front. I had the pleasure of working with him and I am very happy and proud 
to have him racing with Hispania Racing.”

Vitantonio lost his race seat at Force India early this year, despite having a contract to race with them this year. He has said that he had “never lost hope” fighting to stay in F1:

“I am really happy to have signed this agreement with Hispania Racing.

I never lost hope to be in Formula One as I knew I have the experience and the 
right attributes for a young and ambitious team. I face a new challenge now and 
this excites me.

I also face a lot of hard work in guiding Hispania Racing through the development 
of our new car. I am extremely grateful to José Ramon Carabante and to Colin 
Kolles for giving me such an opportunity.”

In a separate announcement, HRT have stated that they will present their 2011 car and drivers on Friday afternoon in Barcelona.

Heidfeld to be evaluated for Renault drive

Nick Heidfeld will be testing with Renault this weekend

Nick Heidfeld will be testing with Renault this weekend

Nick Heidfeld is to share a car with Bruno Senna this weekend in Jerez, as Renault seek a replacement for he injured Robert Kubica.

Kubica, who of course was involved in a rally crash last week, will probably be out for the entire season, and Renault have already made moves to shuffle their line-up. Vitaly Petrov will continue to drive one of the Renaults, but the other drive is up for contention.

Bruno Senna, one of the team’s test drivers, is in the running, as is Vitantonio Liuzzi and Nick Heidfeld. Nick will be evaluated by the team this weekend at Jerez, according to a statement:

Lotus Renault GP has revised its driver line-up for this week’s test session in Jerez 
de la Frontera, Spain.

Vitaly will drive the R31 on Thursday and Friday, as originally scheduled. For 
Saturday and Sunday, the team will give mileage to Bruno Senna and will also 
evaluate Nick Heidfeld, who is a potential replacement for Robert Kubica as a 
race driver. The exact running order for the weekend will be confirmed on 
Friday evening.

If Senna gets the drive, it is believed that he will take the second driver role, while Petrov would be the lead driver. On the other hand, if Heidfeld or Liuzzi is hired, then either of these two will lead the team.

Force India poised to unveil Di Resta

Paul di Resta is about to be confirmed at Force India on Wednesday

Paul di Resta is about to be confirmed at Force India on Wednesday

After a lengthy contract tussle involving Vitantonio Liuzzi, Paul di Resta is finally set to be revealed as Force India’s second driver. He will be unveiled at a press conference in Glasgow on Wednesday, to race alongside Adrian Sutil for 2011.

Over the last few weeks, 2009 and 2010 driver Liuzzi has been struggling to retain his drive for this year. It is presumed that he and Force India have come to an agreement to end his contract prematurely.

Meanwhile, the Scot has had a contract with the Silverstone-based team, but these contract difficulties have meant that he could not be confirmed. However, it appears that the debate is finally over, and he will gain a race seat with the team in 2011.

In 2010, Di Resta operated with the team as a test driver, driving the car during several Friday Practice sessions. He also won the DTM championship with Mercedes, in which he had finished 2nd and 3rd in previous years.

With this, the supply of race seats for 2011 has nearly dried up, with only one position left: the seat alongside Narain Karthikeyan at HRT.

Liuzzi stalling Force India’s driver line-up announcement?

Liuzzi's contract appears to be holding back Force india's newest line-up

Liuzzi's contract appears to be holding back Force india's newest line-up

Recent reports suggest that Force India have completed their driver line-up, with Adrian Sutil being partnered by Paul di Resta. Nico Hulkenberg is reported to have the test driver slot.

However, it is also understood that Vitantonio Liuzzi’s contract with the team still runs through the 2011 season. While the team have tried to cancel his contract, there are only two ways in which this can be done. The first is is Liuzzi’s performances were not up to scratch. Although his statistics portrayed him as underperforming, Force India have publicly admitted that he has not done a terrible job.

The second option would be to pay him out of the contract. The problem with this is that Liuzzi knows that he will never be hired by another team in the foreseeable future (a combination of his results, and no spaces for him tom join), so a buyout of his contract looks unlikely.

Despite this, many media sources are still reporting that Force India will announce their driver line-up in the next few days. While Hulkenberg almost certainly won’t get a race seat, it has been hinted that he will drive the car during Friday Practice sessions.

Toro Rosso and Force India retain drivers for 2011

It has been announced today that both the Toro Rosso and Force India teams are to retain their driver line-up for the 2011 season.

Both Force India and Toro Rosso are to keep their drivers for 2011

Both Force India and Toro Rosso are to keep their drivers for 2011

There had been rumours around that both teams were considering driver changes, but all of that appears to have been put to one side as Sebastien Buemi, Jaime Alguersuari, Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi will continue to race for their respective teams.

This of course means that there is no space available for Paul di Resta, the highly rated test driver for Force India, and contracted to the Mercedes racing group. His only option is if there is a vacancy at Mercedes, which looks very unlikely.

 

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