Jul.17 (GMM) Vitantonio Liuzzi is holding out hope he can return to the formula one grid in 2009.
The 26-year-old Italian was dropped by the Toro Rosso team at the end of last year, and he now regularly tests for Force India, attending all the grands prix as the Ferrari-powered outfit's reserve driver.Now halfway through a season on the sidelines, Liuzzi - known in the paddock as simply Tonio - admitted that watching his former rivals take to the grid on Sundays is "tough".He told the Italian magazine Autosprint that he is hoping to graduate to a race seat in 2009."Based on the agreement we have, anything can happen and I have a good chance of becoming a regular race driver," Liuzzi said.Force India's current race lineup is the veteran Giancarlo Fisichella alongside Adrian Sutil. Fisichella said in recent days that he signed a two-year deal at the beginning of 2008.Liuzzi, who said Force India would also allow him to leave if another race opportunity arises for next year, insists: "At the moment the situation is totally open and nothing has been decided for 2009, so nobody can claim to be confirmed."Indeed, the team's technical boss Mike Gascoyne said earlier this season that Liuzzi's presence will put pressure on Fisichella and Sutil."The message is very clear for Fisi, for both the race drivers. If they want to be driving in 2009, they have got to deliver."If not, there is a guy who will be driving in 2009," he added.