Tuesday, 17 January 2012 10:27
Stung twice in as many years, Vitantonio Liuzzi has admitted that today's Formula One contracts are effectively worthless.
At the end of 2010, the 30 year old Italian was ousted by Force India with a season to run on his contract.
And now, Liuzzi looks likely to depart HRT F1, despite the former Red Bull and Scuderia Toro Rosso driver insisting he has a full two years to run on his current deal.
"At the moment everything is very vague," he told the Italian website 422race.com.
"The main problem is that the team have no budget, so they are evaluating the way to get the money to have two drivers.
"For sure they would like to keep both me and Pedro (de la Rosa), but we are still in standby," added Liuzzi.
He acknowledged that while he is "fully" involved in HRT's 2012 plans right now, the situation could change at "any minute".
"Currently the deals (in Formula 1) are worth very little, because a young driver with money can always come and buy the seat," said Liuzzi. "That's how it works."
A last minute backup plan for the Italian could be a third driver role at another team, but it is also believed he might be eyeing a role in a series outside Formula 1, perhaps sports cars.
"We are evaluating," he admitted, "because it's a decision to make.
"For sure when the situation changes at the last minute it isn't easy to find places in top teams.
"I'm open to new challenges, because it has always been part of my career."
Tonio Liuzzi to 422race.com:
“I’m still an HRT driver”
On his future with HRT:
"At the moment everything is very vague. The main problem is that the team have no budget, so they are evaluating the way to get the money to have two drivers. Now I'm still tied to HRT, because I have a deal for two more years, but everything is still to be defined, because they are looking for sponsors. For sure they would like to keep both me and Pedro (de la Rosa), but we are still in standby."
On 2011 season:
"It's very clear the car was uncompetitive, we were five-six seconds slower than the top teams. When I decided to sign for this team, there was a different ownership, Carabantes', who had different project to Thesan Capital, who is more nationalistic. Their project is a Spanish one, to get Spanish sponsors, which is changing the drivers' management as well. I'm not judging, I'm very realistic: I understand the situation inside the team and at the moment we're trying to solve the situation as soon as possible, because the championship is close. Speaking of results, for sure 2011 was a poor season, but we knew from the beginning that we would need at least a couple of years to build a team starting from the bottom. What we reached in Canada and in some other rainy Grands Prix for sure made the difference comparing to other teams who had more budget than we do. We finished eleventh in the championship with the same points as Lotus, so I think the team is more than happy."
On the new car:
"I'm fully part of the project at the moment, because I'm still a team driver. I'm aware that things may change any minute, as it can change in all other teams. Currently the deals are worth very little, because a young driver with money can always come and buy the seat. That's how it works. But I'm completely part of the development programme. The new car is going on and should be ready for the first test in Valencia. We are confident that we should do a big step forward. For sure we will still have a long way to go, because the 2012 car won't be in the points, but will be much better than in 2011."
On the possibility to be third driver in another team:
"We are evaluating because it's a decision to make. For sure when the situation changes at the last minute it isn't easy to find places in top teams. Now I'm sure I will stay involved with HRT, but we will see. Things may change before the start of testing."
On the possibility to race in closed wheels:
"I'm a driver which loves to race and to win, to do his best. To me, obviously, Formula One is the top of technology and motorsport, and it gives me incredible feelings, but for me the important is to be on four wheels and having an engine to give my best. I'm open to new challenges, because it has always been part of my career. Even while racing in Formula One I competed in other categories during the season, because I love being versatile and trying new experiences."
On Red Bull drivers' management:
"This is Mateschitz' toy and Marko is managing it. Everybody manages their business how they want. You can criticize it or not, but in the end they invest a lot of money on this programme, so they do what they want. Lately it's not clear how they choose their drivers, because the ones that do good results are sacked, but everybody can manage this toy as they want."