Toro Rosso's Vitantonio Liuzzi talks about how things currently are with the team
Q: Why is Toro Rosso waiting so long to announce their drivers?
Vitantonio Liuzzi: Only Gerhard (Berger) knows why, I think. I'm pretty sure I'll stay in the team, but I don't know why they still don't want to confirm. But after all, the team is theirs, so this kind of decisions is up to them.
Q: So you feel sure. Do you think Scott Speed will stay, too?
VL: I think there won't be any changes. However, Formula One can always surprise you, as we know. But I'm not worried for my seat.
Q: Let's go back to your famous quotes about Sebastien Bourdais' test. They led to a fuss and somebody wrote you are big headed. Can you explain what you meant?
VL: First of all, the quotes we read aren't the ones I stated during the interview. Somebody exaggerated what I said. I always said Bourdais is a good and fast driver, but he didn't do any miracle when he took part in this test, even if reading the newspapers you could think the opposite. I saw what I saw.
Then again, we know most journalists are used to exaggerating in order to lead to a quarrel, but I sincerely don't mind what they wrote. Surely Bourdais is a good driver, otherwise he wouldn't have won three Champ Car titles. But if he is not in Formula 1, there must be a reason.
Q: Would you like to have him as a team-mate in 2008?
VL: I get along very well with Scott, I don't have any problems working with him, so at the moment I'm happy about the way things are. Then the team will decide my team-mate. Sebastien is a good guy, too, but I still can't judge him, because three test days aren't much, real drivers show up during races. I saw Scott improving a lot and he is very fast, too, so I think he still has a lot to say.
Q: Next year Red Bull Racing will feature two non-Red Bull drivers. Why didn't they promote you to RBR instead of hiring Webber?
VL: Actually it was Toro Rosso that didn't let me go to Red Bull, because they wanted me to stay with them, and that's why I feel sure of my seat. I'm happy to stay at Toro Rosso because it's an Italian team and I'm happy next year we'll use Ferrari engines because we'll have a very strong package. I'm not disappointed not to join Red Bull Racing, obviously that structure seems more competitive, but I think next year Toro Rosso will give everybody a run for their money, including Red Bull.
Q: About Ferrari engines: last year you raced with the limited Cosworth V10, which undoubtedly were your main weak point, but you were able to test the Ferrari-powered Red Bull. Which is the potential of these engines?
VL: I was always very happy about Red Bull in general, in each test I did for them we always did very well, in fact I was amazed they couldn't improve the race performance we saw during the championship. This was a bit of a dilemma during their season, that's why I sometimes stepped into the car.
But the car and above all the engine seemed very competitive, compared to ours, it pushed more on high revs, with a completely different power curve, but it's obviously a good engine. We were in a very tricky situation because our engine didn't breath that much compared to the V8s, in my opinion they limited it too much and in the end we suffered the consequences.
Q: In terms of lap time, how much do you think you will be able to gain with the Ferrari V8s?
VL: Just for the engine, compared to last year, I think we'll be able to go four or five tenths quicker, but the new car, in general, will be the biggest jump forward for us.
Q: What's your reply to all the polemics about your chassis which is said to be a "copy" of Red Bull's?
VL: The development of our car is going on at Faenza and the car will be built there. For sure there will be some similarities between the two cars but they will be two different cars. Also because, having two completely different engines in terms of dimensions, it would be technically impossible to make them exactly the same.
It's normal to have some polemics before the season: it was the case last year, as it is this year. In the end it is always the same people who keep fussing: Ron Dennis, Spyker... They probably have other people to work instead of them since they seem to have nothing to do. But that's OK, it's good to be talked about, for the good or for the worse.
Q: How was the approach with Bridgestone, in the latest tests?
VL: At the beginning it was a drag, we didn't expect it, because the tyres were much harder and very different to use. Then the tyres which Bridgestone gave us in the second test were already different, much more driveable and consistent, both on long runs and on the single lap, so we were very happy. For sure they are different tyres to use but in the end we adapted quite well, after completing some mileage we found the right way.
Q: What are the current programmes for the new car?
VL: Everything has been planned for the last week of January, but there isn't a confirmation yet, so we don't know precisely when we'll put the car on track, we'll have to see when the new chassis comes. At the moment I'm in Austria for the physical training and I don't know what is going on in Faenza.