27 September 2009 - Tonio Liuzzi has secured his first race finish for the Force India Formula One Team in today's Singapore Grand Prix. The Italian raced from 19th on the grid to 14th at the chequered flag after a race-long battle with former ...
27 September 2009 - Tonio Liuzzi has secured his first race finish for the Force India Formula One Team in today's Singapore Grand Prix. The Italian raced from 19th on the grid to 14th at the chequered flag after a race-long battle with former team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella. Tonio used a two stop strategy and stayed with the Ferrari, matching Giancarlo's lap times, until his third and final stop for supersoft tyres. This final set of tyres produced excessive graining in the closing stages of the race and Tonio dropped back a little but he nevertheless pushed until the final corner to achieve his first race finish for the team.
Adrian Sutil was a premature retirement from the tough, humid race. Adrian moved up one place at the start and was bottled up behind Jaime Alguersuari. After his first pit stop Adrian saw an opportunity to pass into turn 10 but spun off line while trying to overtake. When he tried to rejoin the track, Nick Heidfeld - unsighted by Adrian - was exiting the previous corner and had nowhere to go except into the nosecone of the VJM02. Adrian's brake system was damaged in the secondary impact and he returned to the pits to attempt repair, but ultimately was forced to retire.
It was quite frustrating at the start as we knew with the one stop we were very heavy, but Jaime [Alguersuari] was very slow and really fighting with the car. He was holding me up a lot and I tried a few times to pass him but I finally saw a chance. I tried and it wasn't enough - I was a little late on the brakes, spun and that's it. Then Nick came around the corner and hit my front wing as I was stuck in the corner. I didn't see him coming as I was on the move already and couldn't react to it, but I'm sorry for it. It was a race incident. After the accident I then had a problem with the brakes and lost all the rear pressure and I had to stop as it was too dangerous to drive. We should be much better in Suzuka - I really can't wait for it. It's one of my favourite circuits and I have big hopes for a better result.
It has been an ultra difficult weekend and race for us. The conditions are very difficult from the beginning as we were starting on the last row and trying to get some points was always going to be tough. Also having two cars with KERS in front of me didn't help. I couldn't overtake Giancarlo [Fisichella] even though I was quicker on my first two stints. On the third stint we started to have a lot of graining with the rear tyres with the soft compound and I just couldn't catch him. In the end it was a difficult race but we are more optimistic for the next races.
Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal:
We thought this was going to be a difficult race with the high downforce configuration and it indeed proved to be true. We tried all we could to gain some places but ultimately it was too big a challenge to score some points today. I am however very pleased that Tonio has achieved his first race finish for the team and again trailed home a Ferrari. Adrian tried to make up places but it just didn't work out for him. But it was a racing incident and these things happen when you are pushing hard. We are now looking forward to Suzuka where we hope we will see a truer reflection of our performance.