MARCH 2, 2009

Liuzzi waits for F1 - and ponders Le Mans

Tonio Liuzzi has been out of the limelight in the last few months but the lanuch of the new Force India VJM02 has put the Italian back in the news, although there is going to be little chance for him to test for the team this year because of the in-season testing ban. Liuzzi has made a big impression in the Speedcar Championship in the Middle East in recent months and says that he hopes to keep doing races to stay sharp. He is aiming to land a ride at the Le Mans 24 Hours. Liuzzi says that his focus remains on Formula 1 and while Force India will keep the same driver line-up with Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil this year, it is an open secret in F1 circles that Liuzzi has a contract to race for the team in 2010 and 2011. We hear that Liuzzi has an option that enables him to go elsewhere if he gets any approaches before a certain date - presumably some point in the late summer. With F1 experience being at a premium this year because of the testing ban, the 27-year-old Italian may get a chance if any openings pop up. There are not many experienced F1 men who are not contracted elsewhere and Liuzzi's 39 Grands Prix, and his performance relative to former team-mate Sebastian Vettel in 2007, may bring him back into the spotlight.

In the meantime the most likely opportunities at Le Mans include the Pescarolo-run Peugeot 908, although it is more likely that he would race in one of the three Aston Martin-powered Lola coupes, which are being run by Czech outfit Charouz Racing System. Liuzzi did a touring car race with Charouz in Most last year, at the wheel of a Mercedes AMG DTM C-Klasse.