Vitantonio Liuzzi completes 2011 Formula One grid

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The Independent Online

The final seat for the forthcoming Formula One season has finally been filled with Vitantonio Liuzzi to drive for Hispania Racing.

After being dumped in December by Force India with a year left on his contract, Liuzzi will partner Narain Karthikeyan in Hispania's second season in F1.

Although Liuzzi can expect a tough year ahead with the backmarkers who have struggled financially since moving into the sport, the Italian is naturally thrilled to have secured a place on the grid.

"I am really happy to have signed this agreement with Hispania Racing," said Liuzzi,

"I never lost hope to be in Formula One as I know I have the experience and the right attributes for a young and ambitious team.

"I face a new challenge now and this excites me. I also face a lot of hard work in guiding Hispania Racing through the development of our new car."

Hispania's latest challenger, the F111, will finally be unveiled on Friday and have two days of track time at this week's final test at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

At least Liuzzi will have the opportunity to savour the new car prior to heading to Melbourne for the season-opening grand prix in Australia

For team principal Colin Kolles, Liuzzi's appointment affords the team the experience they need as they seek to continue improving and developing.

"I have known Tonio for many years as he raced with me in lower categories," said Kolles.

"He is a very professional driver who will bring a lot of benefits to the team. I am convinced about his skills to develop a car and his speed.

"He has shown this in the past, having contributed to a large extent in developing and moving a back-of-the-grid car to the front."