For the first time, Vitantonio Liuzzi has thrown his weight into the speculation over the identity of Pedro de la Rosa’s team-mate at HRT, claiming that he holds a multi-year agreement with the team and that he should be remaining with the team in 2012.
Seemingly, there are just two race seats yet to be confirmed for next year’s Formula 1 grid: the second seat at Williams alongside Pastor Maldonado, and what Liuzzi is arguing is his seat at HRT.
The Italian is no stranger to contracts not being honoured. He was dropped from the Force India line-up for the 2011 season despite having a valid contract to race for them, and signed with HRT on the eve of the 2011 season, with all indicators being that this was for a multi-year agreement.
“In early 2011 we agreed on a long-term contract with HRT,” he told Australian Motorsport News.
“It would have made no sense to sign with a team at this level on just a one-year contract; you have to make it a project for the future and that is why I want to stay in 2012.”
One major hurdle in the way of Liuzzi’s argument is that the team’s ownership changed mid-year, with former owners Hispania Racing selling the team to investment group Thesan Capital.
Unless there was clauses written into his contract that protected his deal even if its ownership changed, his legal position will be significantly weakened.
Recent interview comments from newly-appointed HRT Team Principal Luis Pérez-Sala gave no mention to Liuzzi when the topic of de la Rosa’s team-mate was raised.
He in fact added that the team was in discussion with a number of drivers for the role, with other sources suggesting that the team is seeking a paying driver for the seat.
[Image via LAT]