Force India secured its second consecutive points finish in the Australian Grand Prix today, with Tonio Liuzzi finishing seventh for the team.
Liuzzi’s teammate Adrian Sutil retired from the race with engine problems, and is still yet to score any points this season.
The race itself began in the middle of a rain shower, and both drivers were forced to start on intermediate tyres. The track was dry enough by lap 9 for Liuzzi to make just one stop for soft tyres, which lasted him until the end of the race. The Italian had to hold Rubens Barrichello behind him in the latter stages, but was promoted a place towards the end when Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber collided.
Liuzzi was extremely happy after his performance in Melbourne. “Another great race and another great result for the team. It’s a confirmation of the pace we showed in Bahrain and the work the team did over the winter. We worked hard all weekend for this seventh place and it’s a brilliant result at the end of what was a crazy race.
“At the beginning of the race on the intermediate tyres we were struggling a little and lost a few positions but after I pitted for the dry tyres I was able to recover and stay on the race pace. Towards the end of the race the rear tyres were going off a lot as I had been on them for a long time, but it was just enough to hold onto the position. I think it was another perfect weekend and now we can look forward to Malaysia.”
Adrian Sutil explained the problems behind his retirement and said he is targeting an end to his point-less run in Malaysia. “We seemed to have a problem with the engine very early on in the race. I was driving on just four cylinders and then lost the power and that was it really. It was a shame as we were looking good after the start. The team looked to try and get me out again after I came into the garage as we were in such a good position and I was the quickest car on the circuit at one stage. We missed out on a big chance here today but what can you do. It’s good news for the team that Tonio got some more points and I’ll be looking to bring my points on board at the next race.”
Team principal Vijay Mallya was very enthusiastic about the racing he saw in Melbourne today, and he was also pleased with his team’s performance. “What a race we had here today! Thrilling to watch and a delight to see a Force India car in the top ten. Tonio drove a brilliant race, looking after his tyres for almost 50 laps, to secure his second points of the season. It was richly deserved for him. Moreover, the result confirms that our pace is there and we are now genuinely in the hunt for points. It is a shame for Adrian as this could have been his race, but we’ll look at what went wrong so he can go for his first points of the season in Malaysia.”