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Liuzzi eyes race driver's seat at Force India

Liuzzi reckons his association with the Vijay Mallya-owned F1 team is a long-term project and a race seat with the side in the future would be a natural culmination of the process.
By HT Correspondent | PTI, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 18, 2008 04:25 PM IST

Vitantonio Liuzzi has no illusion about his job as Force India's test driver but the Italian thinks he can impress his employers enough to win a race seat at the end of the season.

Liuzzi reckons his association with the Vijay Mallya-owned F1 team is a long-term project and a race seat with the side in the future would be a natural culmination of the process.

"Definitely my big objective is to be back racing in F1 in 2009. I am putting a lot of effort into that and I feel positive with Force India," he said.

"They are giving me a lot of chances and a lot of mileage, and we are doing big steps forward together. So that makes me feel positive," the former Red Bull and Toro Rosso driver told 'Autosport' magazine.

"I have a lot of positive feelings for the future and I want to give the maximum this year to try and improve the car, because I think 2009 is a time when the team will be able to make a big step forward," Liuzzi said.

Talking about Force India, Liuzzi said he was excited about the new chapter in his career.

"Since the very first test with Force India, even when I had not signed with them, I saw they had a good structure, a positive structure, with professional people.

"VJ (Mallya) has put a lot of effort in the team and I am looking forward to working with them. My project here is for the long term, and soon we will be able to make a big step forward," he said.

"I think VJ showed very strongly that he wants to perform and bring the team to a podium finish in a few years. And he will put a lot of effort to make it happen," he added.

Liuzzi was also confident that he would make significant contribution to the car's development.

"Now after two years of racing in F1, you realise more what an F1 car needs to be fast. Now I feel mature enough to lead the team into making the car a good one."

"...We have got a big step forward coming in two weeks in Barcelona with the new package. From the numbers I have seen in the wind tunnel, the progress is coming quickly over the next two or three months."

Though Liuzzi does not expect Force India to set the F1 track on fire wherever they go, the driver said the idea was to reduce the gap with the competitors.

"...I think our target for this year is to close as much as possible the gap to our competitors. Then we want to try and get into Q2 by the end of the season. It is not going to be easy, but I think we have got a lot of updates coming and we can get the maximum out of the new car," said the driver.

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