Last night’s virtual race was run on Brazil’s famous Interlagos circuit. Flying our flag for the third time in a row were Joni Tormala and Manuel Biancolilla in the 5 lap Sprint Race and Luca Salvadori with Tonio Liuzzi tackling the 36 lap Feature Race. In the one-lap qualifying, our Finn was eighth fastest and the Sicilian was P17. Biancolilla converted that to 14th in the race, which meant that was Liuzzi’s start position for the main event. Tormala finished where he started so that Luca Salvadori was happy with an eighth place on the grid. But everything changed at the start of the Feature Race: a Ferrari spun at the Senna “S,” causing chaos. Salvadori could not avoid the collision and dropped down to last place. Liuzzi found a way through and was eighth. Luca soon moved up the order: on lap 3 the team-mates were in line astern, just outside the points. But a misunderstanding led to the two men colliding and that was it pretty much over for Tonio who found himself last, not helped by various problems with his rig. Luca had to start over again and he got as high as tenth at the flag, to take another point, which allowed the team to hang onto seventh in this exciting mini-championship, a tasty appetiser for the real Formula 1 season which starts on 28 March in Bahrain. The winner of this race was once again George Russell in the Williams. Heading the teams’ and drivers’ classifications were Haas and its Brazilian youngster Enzo Fittipaldi, grandson of the two time World Champion (1972 and ’74) Emerson.
“I was really out of luck in this race. Thanks to a good job from Joni and Manuel in the Sprint Race, we started from the middle of the pack. Unfortunately, some cars spun in front of me and there was no way I could avoid the collision, so I ended up down the back. As if that wasn’t enough, I had a coming together with Tonio: I clipped his right rear wheel and we both spun, losing even more time. In the end, I picked up another point, so that was okay. Let’s hope I can do better another time.”
“It was a disastrous race and unfortunately, really everything happened to me. In all three races of this championship, something went wrong for me and last night it was a real nightmare. An hour before the start my pedal box broke and so I had to switch everything to a different unit, which had very different settings. It meant I was unable to run at the same pace as in practice during the week, which would have been good enough for the top ten given the times the other drivers did in the race , which is very disappointing. Then, during the race even the lever used to change gear broke which got stuck along with the steering wheel when I turned. I’m sorry for the completely unintentional collision with my team-mate which cost me dear. At least I got to the finish, but I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to do better during the championship. As always, I’d like to thank AlphaTauri and Red Bull for giving me this chance to be part of the team again and I hope there will be other opportunities in the future.”