Force India

Formula 1 Team reports for the 2009 F1 season includes race previews, reports and reviews
Ed
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Force India

Postby Ed » Mon Mar 23, 2009 11:14 pm

Australian Grand Prix Preview

Guide to the track

The Australian GP was held in Adelaide from 1985 until 1995, before switching to Melbourne. It then became the first rather than last race of the season to avoid a clash with the famous Melbourne Cup horse race, held each November. The only year Melbourne was not the first race of the season was 2006, when the Commonwealth Games caused it to move to third in the calendar and an April slot.

The 58 lap race is run through private parkland on a temporary street track through Melbourne's largest public park, which was originally a swamp, and for thousands of years was a meeting point for the indigenous Wurundjeri people. The park is home to a 300 year old river red gum tree that was one famous meeting point.

The arrival of the Grand Prix in 1996 inevitably created some opposition from those who thought motor racing was not compatible with Albert Park's heritage. However many overlooked the fact that at various times it has been a city dump and an army camp, and in fact the Grand Prix contributed to its rejuvenation.

Giancarlo Fisichella

"Australia is a good place for me personally. I won the race in 2005 and started in second place in 2006 and with a car that was not as competitive as we would have liked, I finished in fifth in 2007. For these reasons, it's a fantastic track for me, but it's also a great track to drive.

"With a combination of short straights, second and third gear chicanes, this 16 turn track requires medium to high downforce and good traction is essential, particularly early on in the weekend when the track is 'green'. It is very slippery on the Friday as it doesn't get used very much over the year, and then conditions just get better and better for the race.

"There are a few chicanes in third gear so you need to have a good car under braking, but don't brake too much so you can still get into the chicane with a good speed. Turns 11 and 12 are quite quick and it's quite hard for the brakes, and the last corner is quite interesting. It's important to be quick but there is always a lot of understeer and the car slides on four wheels.

This year the race will start a bit later at 17:00, so it may be a bit darker at the end of the race, but I don't think this will change a lot for the drivers. In Singapore we raced under the lights and it didn't seem to make a lot of difference from our perspective."

View from the pitwall

Dominic Harlow
Chief Race Engineer

The culmination of winter development and car build effort makes Melbourne an exciting and technically challenging race. The Albert Park circuit is hard on brakes and, being a temporary construction, has a constantly changing grip level. The weather offers plenty of variety some for the teams to deal with, from 40deg. heat as in 2008, to rain disturbances from the southern oceanic region.

For the first time ever the race this year will be an evening event, potentially leading to cooler track conditions, however Bridgestone's softer tyre will almost certainly struggle to resist graining and degradation.

One very important fact to remember at this circuit however is the seemingly annual first corner accident where nearly five months of anticipation can be over in a few seconds. We have often seen safety cars in Melbourne, and it could figure again in this year's race, and the change to the regulations could particularly mix things up.

Vintage Australia Moments

The first Australian GP in Melbourne in 1996 saw Jacques Villeneuve take pole for his first ever F1 start, although in the race he had a problem and handed victory to team-mate Damon Hill. However the race is perhaps best remembered for the spectacular accident that saw Martin Brundle's Jordan roll out of the race on the first lap.

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Postby Ed » Sat Mar 28, 2009 1:00 am

2009 Australian Grand Prix Free Practice Report

Adrian Sutil (car 20, VJM02/03):
FP1: 9th 1:27.993 (20 laps)
FP2: 9th 1:27.040 (29 laps)

Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21, VJM02/01):
FP1: 14th 1:28.603 (16 laps)
FP2: 13th 1:27.282 (32 laps)


27 March 2009 - The Force India Formula One Team's 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship campaign got underway today with two 90 minute free practice sessions at the Albert Park track in Melbourne, Australia. Both Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella enjoyed strong starts to the year, with Adrian recording the 9th quickest time in both sessions and Giancarlo the 14th and 13th fastest times in FP1 and FP2 - already on a par with their respective 2008 qualifying laps.

After a very limited winter testing programme, the team's objective today was to cover as many laps as possible and further its understanding of the new car, the VJM02. The programme also included comparing the two Bridgestone Potenza tyre compounds available this weekend, set-up work and, in the afternoon, longer and new tyre runs.

Qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix will take place tomorrow at 17:00hrs local time following a final 60-minute practice session in the morning.

Adrian Sutil (car 20)
'I hope this is representative of where we are, but it is still very early on in the weekend. We had a good session in the afternoon and could do some quite promising runs. I was pleased with the car, we had no real problems. The balance depended on the tyres. In the second session we did some race runs and struggled a lot with the softer tyre, but I think once the track rubbers in the tyres will grip better, but overall it was OK and a good position in the end. I think we can be happy with where we are right now.'

Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21)
'It's a bit too early to say how we can perform this weekend. The car is better under high speed but so far I am struggling with the rear locking and I'm not 100% comfortable just yet. We're in better shape than last year for sure though. We will see tomorrow but at least we know there is potential to improve over night.'

Simon Roberts, chief operating officer
'It's been a promising start to the weekend today. I've been really pleased with the team and the overall performance. We managed to get everything we needed to completed and, apart from a couple of niggles in the first session - really just early season teething problems - it was a good team showing.'

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Postby mlittle » Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:03 am

Australian GP
Force India Race Report


~~~Adrian Sutil (car 20, VJM02/03):
10th: 1:34:22.119

~~~Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21, VJM02/01):
12th: 1:34:23.158


The Force India Formula One Team today achieved its early season objective of a double race finish, securing two top 12 finishes in the Australian Grand Prix. After a thrilling and unpredictable race Adrian Sutil finished in 10th position with Giancarlo Fisichella 12th, marking the team's best result since its 2008 debut.

For the second consecutive year Albert Park's first corner yielded a chaotic start, this time to the misfortune of Adrian, who lost part of his front wing and was forced to pit. Dropped to the rear of the field, he nevertheless drove a measured, consistent race and kept clear of the numerous accidents to claim his best result in over a year.

Giancarlo meanwhile demonstrated the much improved pace of the VJM02 and by lap 12 was in a points-scoring position. When the first safety car was deployed Giancarlo had graduated to fourth position, however an unfortunate mistake on entering the pitlane cost him crucial seconds and he rejoined in 14th position. Undeterred, the Italian pushed until the end and, like his team-mate, recorded very competitive lap times right to the finish of the race.

The team will now travel directly to Malaysia for the second race of the championship in just one week's time.

Adrian Sutil (car 20)
'As expected we got a very exciting race! I had a good start, but in the first corner I think Webber slowed down and there was nowhere I could go. I damaged my front wing and had to get the car back to the pits. I lost some time behind Heidfeld's BMW: I was faster but there was no way I could get through. After the first safety car everything was fine - we had a good strategy with a short stint on the soft tyres in the middle. On the restart I could get past a few cars and then on the hard tyre it went really well. I could finish in 10th position - I think we can be happy with this.'

Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21)
'I'm very disappointed with the mistake I made in the pit stop. I was just confused with last year as we were always in the last slot in the pitlane, so I just overshot and had to be pulled back into the pits. I'm really sad about this as I think we could have got a good result. We can take some positives away from this race though - we were able to fight with the others and the car felt good over the race. I'm really looking forward to Malaysia now.'

Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal
'I am absolutely delighted with the result we have achieved here today. Considering the relatively late debut of the VJM02 and the changes we have implemented over the winter, getting two cars to the finish is a fantastic achievement. Both drivers had overall excellent races and showed that we have made improvements to both the pace and the balance of the car this year. Given our objective was just to finish this race, to do so with both cars in the top 12 is well beyond our expectations. It's a good foundation for this year.'
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Postby mlittle » Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:13 am

Force India Post-Race Report


~~~Force India graduates to 9th and 11th in Australian Grand Prix

29 March 2009 - The Force India Formula One Team has been awarded 9th and 11th positions in today's Australian Grand Prix following the Stewards of the Meeting's decision to hand Jarno Trulli (Toyota) a 25-second penalty for overtaking under the final safety car period of the race.

The decision demotes Trulli to 12th position, thereby moving Adrian Sutil to 9th and Giancarlo Fisichella to 11th overall.

Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal 'The decision makes today's result even better - Force India's best result to date! I hope that we can repeat, or better, this in Malaysia.'
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Postby mlittle » Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:46 am

Force India Malaysian GP Preview


~~~~Guide To The Track

The 5.543km Sepang International Circuit, 60km from the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, was built at the same time as the nearby Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The track was the first of the new breed of super circuits to be built by German architect and track designer Hermann Tilke. It formed the blueprint for subsequent new venues in Bahrain, Shanghai, Istanbul and Abu Dhabi.

Tilke's trademark is to incorporate a national symbol into his designs, usually in the buildings. 'The structure of the grandstand roof is like a banana leaf,' he explains. 'You can see one shot of it, and you know it's Malaysia.'

The first Malaysian GP was held in October 1999, as the penultimate round of the World Championship. The following year it was the final round, but from 2001 the race was switched to earlier in the season and paired with Australia. It has been the second round of the series ever since.

~~~Giancarlo Fisichella

"Sepang is a very interesting track, for me one of the best circuits of the year. It's modern but it has a bit of character and I won here in 2006 so I have good memories.

"It's a nice circuit actually, with many different types of corners. There are a couple of slow corners, for example turns one and two and again in nine. Turns five and six are high speed, fifth gear corners and turn 11 is one of the most difficult braking points of the season -- when you brake, your front wheels are on the right hand side of the track so the front is locking but just at the end of the braking you've got oversteer. It's difficult to get right.

"Everyone says this is the toughest race of the season so it seems like a cliche, but it really is hard, both physically and mentally. It's hot and humid and the circuit is quite twisty, so physically it takes a lot out of you -- we sweat so much that at the end of the race I normally lose around three kilos of weight."

View From The Pit Wall

~~~Dominic Harlow
Chief Race Engineer

This 15-turn track contains a variety of corners, from a tight second gear hairpin leading on to the pit straight to two high-speed sweeping corners at turns five and six and a fast double-apex right hander. With such tricky combinations of corners, braking stability is key, although with understeer predominating in the long slower corners, getting a good balance can be difficult.

An evening race in Sepang is going to be about one thing, thunderstorms. As convective clouds build over the circuit during the day, the cooling conditions of the late afternoon trigger heavy downpours. For the qualifying and race sessions this could really mix things up.

The larger difference in grip between the slicks and wets in 2009 could mean a test for the drivers, something that Force India are confident Adrian and Giancarlo will revel in. The Sepang circuit is physically demanding because of heat and lateral forces. The track surface is now quite old and with the substrate not fully compacted bumps have increased over time.

For the engineers, the set-up here is one of the toughest of the season and with the soft tyre will be even more tricky.

-------Vintage Malaysia GP Moments

Eddie Irvine won the spectacular inaugural Malaysian GP in 1999, only for both Ferraris to be disqualified for having illegal bargeboards. The decision was later reversed, allowing Irvine to remain in contention for the World Championship going into the Suzuka finale.
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Postby Ed » Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:24 pm

2009 Malaysian Grand Prix Free Practice Report

Adrian Sutil (car 20, VJM02/03):
FP1: 15th 1:37.241 (18 laps)
FP2: 16th 1:36.875 (36 laps)

Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21, VJM02/01):
FP1: 12th 1:37.025 (20 laps)
FP2: 19th 1:37.432 (27 laps)


The Force India Formula One Team today completed the opening day of practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit some 60km from the country's capital, Kuala Lumpur. Under increasingly cloudy skies, Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil recorded times just over a second from the fastest lap of the day, with Giancarlo 12th and 19th in the morning and afternoon sessions respectively, and Adrian 15th and 16th.

The team completed short runs on the harder tyre in the morning, but concentrated the majority of its programme on the afternoon session, with its high ambient temperatures and later time slot being more representative of the expected conditions for Sunday's race, which will start at 17:00hrs this year. Both drivers compared the soft and hard tyre compounds available this weekend over both long and short runs, fine-tuned the set-up and reacclimatised to the tough physical pressures associated with the heat and humidity of this event.

The only blip in the programme was an accident for Giancarlo in the second practice. The Italian put a wheel on the grass at turn 11 20 minutes from the end of the session and went into the gravel trap and into the barriers. His VJM02 sustained suspension damage in the impact but will be repaired overnight in time for tomorrow's final practice session and qualifying.

Adrian Sutil (car 20)
'It was a good day today overall. We got through all our work and had no problems with the car. We have some work to do with the set up, it's still a bit understeery in the high speed corners and we can still make some improvements in this respect. The soft tyres seem to work quite well, but the hard tyre at the moment is really hard and never seems to come in. Overall it was a pretty productive day to set us up well for the weekend.'

Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21)
'We are still finding the best compromise under braking as there is front locking and poor grip and traction so we have to work a lot to make the balance work for us. Over the longer runs it doesn't look too bad however. It's a shame about the accident in the afternoon - I just went a little bit wide as there was some graining on the tyres and I lost control of the car. It was just unlucky to go onto the gravel and into the barriers.'

Simon Roberts, chief operating officer
'We managed to get through most of the programme today in both sessions and had some good runs on the softer tyres in the second session, so we now have a good data point. Unfortunately Giancarlo came off the track in the closing stages of the afternoon and damaged the car, but I think we have got a good basis to move forward from now. Looking forward to tomorrow and the race I would hope that we are in a similar shape to last weekend, or even a slight improvement.'

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Postby Ed » Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:05 pm

2009 Malaysian Grand Prix Qualifying and Final Free Practice Report

Adrian Sutil (car 20, VJM02/03):
FP3: 17th 1:37.118 (18 laps)
Q1: 19th 1:35.951 (10 laps)

Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21, VJM02/01):
FP1: 20th 1:37.398 (19 laps)
Q1: 18th 1:35.908 (8 laps)

The Force India Formula One Team will start tomorrow's Malaysian Grand Prix, the second race of the 2009 F1 season, with Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil in 18th and 19th positions respectively. The duo were evenly matched over the day, also posting the two fastest speeds down the straight, and were just tenths from making the cut into Q2.

For the second consecutive event qualifying produced a very close and relatively surprising grid, and Giancarlo will start just behind the Ferrari of Felipe Massa and the Renault of Nelson Piquet.

The 56 lap race will start at 17:00hrs local time tomorrow.

Adrian Sutil (car 20)
'We did a good job today, we had no problems and this was our pace - we couldn't really have done better. We just need to find some downforce. For tomorrow, I want to have a good race and to get to the finish. We are very quick down the straights and there is some potential for overtaking so let's see - we had an exciting race in Melbourne and anything can happen. I am still positive.'

Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21)
'I had a problem with the throttle pedal on the first run so we changed it and I lost the chance to do three runs, which was very important. The lap I did was clean and the car is well balanced. Again the field is very mixed and with the chance of some rain we should look to keep up with the field and take any chance we can.'

Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer
'It was a tense session today with a constant threat of heavy showers, but they didn't materialise. Giancarlo lost some track time with a throttle pedal problem, but recovered well to place a time just 0.05s faster than Adrian. We're expecting an interesting race tomorrow and we know from last weekend that our race pace coupled with strong straightline speed and a creative strategy could be good enough to score points.'

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Postby Ed » Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:38 pm

2009 Malaysian Grand Prix Race Report

Adrian Sutil (car 20, VJM02/03):
17th: 55:58.426 (+1 lap)

Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21, VJM02/01):
18th: 53:16.065 (+ 1 lap)

Torrential rain, biblical lightening storms, a curtailed race and the first half-points finish since the Australian Grand Prix 1991 will be the footnotes for today's Malaysian Grand Prix. Due to a monsoon-like downpour the race was suspended on lap 31 and then ultimately brought to a premature end just before 19:00hrs due to fading light conditions. Force India's Adrian Sutil was classified 17th at the finish and Giancarlo Fisichella 18th, however the latter had unfortunately slid wide on the drenched track just one lap before the race was halted.

The race had started under ominously cloudy skies, but conditions were dry until 30 minutes into the event. Banking that the typical heavy rain would be imminent, both Giancarlo and Adrian pitted for extreme wet tyres. The downpour did not materialise however for a further 30 minutes, and when Giancarlo was just returning to the pits to change for another set of wets he aquaplaned off the circuit. Adrian did however change tyres but was in the pits when the race was suspended.

The team will now return to its UK base for a brief halt before resuming its 2009 campaign in China in two weeks.

Adrian Sutil (car 20)
'When the rain started it was very difficult and just about impossible to drive. We were in second or first gear at 20kph and even then we were sliding around the circuit. It was unbelievable, so it was a good decision to stop the race. It was a bit of a shame that it couldn't be restarted as I think we would have had a good chance in the wet conditions. In the end though it was too dark to restart. Looking forward to Shanghai, I want to get another weekend with no problems: let's improve our pace and look for some downforce, and carry our momentum forward.'

Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21)
'Unfortunately we made a wrong call to change to extreme wets very early on. We came in too early and I did three or four laps under dry conditions so we destroyed the tyre. Then it was raining and the grip was getting better and better but there was just so much water and the tyres were almost slicks so I could not control the car, it was just aquaplaning. It was not a good race for us, unfortunately we had a wrong strategy but we will see for the next race.'

Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal
'Today in Malaysia we had almost unprecedented conditions and we took a risk with the strategy. Unfortunately the rain we expected - which you can normally bank on coming - didn't come soon enough and Giancarlo was unfortunate enough to be returning to the pits for a new set of extreme tyres when the rain hit hardest. As a team we will learn from this as we move forward to China and Bahrain. We're growing in confidence and potential all the time so we just need a good race to demonstrate it.'

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Postby Ed » Tue Apr 14, 2009 7:46 pm

Chinese Grand Prix Preview
17 - 19 April 2009

This year's Chinese Grand Prix will be third race of the 2009 championship, a change from recent years when it has featured towards the end of the season. However the addition of Abu Dhabi as the season finale means that Shanghai has been moved to April to help ensure a balance of 'aways' and China will now form a double header race with Bahrain.

Following a strong double finish in Australia and improved pace in Malaysia, the Force India Formula One Team will go to the Chinese race with the aim of translating its early-season promise into results.

Team Q&A

Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal

Did the first two races of the 2009 season pan out as you expected?
Before the start of the season, we said that the first four flyaway races would be somewhat of an extended test session for the team due to the lack of test mileage over the winter. However when we got to Australia and Adrian and Giancarlo were able to convincingly stay with the pack and so nearly got into the points, we were forced to re-evaluate our expectations. We know we still have some work to do, but I think we can be very encouraged by the speed, reliability and performance of the team.

The team made a lot of changes over the winter both technically and on an operations level. How do you now review them now, two races into the year?
2008 was very much a learning year for the team and, on the basis of these lessons, I made some changes over the winter. I am pleased to see the switch to a McLaren-Mercedes drivetrain has been very reliable and the drivers say the mechanical balance and grip has to date been very good. Nobody would count us out for points so I think this says we have made a good decision. Secondly, we made some changes on the management front. The team is now a much more cohesive outfit, it's all pulling in the same direction and this is entirely positive. So yes, I feel our decisions have been vindicated by the improvements this year.

Have you been surprised by the field this year?
After winter testing, everyone expected the Brawn GP cars to be very quick and this has proved to be the case. Although the team started its 2009 preparations very early on last year and has significant resources, it is now effectively an independent team and I am very pleased that the team can operate at such a high level. It certainly gives us all some lessons. What we have seen further down however is that the field is still very close and we cannot predict the outcome. Under these circumstances I think we have reasons to be very positive about our own situation.

Driver Q&A

Adrian Sutil (car 20, VJM02/03)
What have you learned about how competitive the car is this year from these two races?
We are closer this year and in general the VJM02 is an improvement from last season's car. The balance and mechanical grip is good and it is very fast in a straight line, but at the moment we don't have enough downforce. We do have a much clearer direction though this year ¡V last year we were struggling everywhere, but this year it's just downforce. We need more grip in the corners. I know we have some developments in the pipeline so at this point in the season I am hopeful. The car has potential, definitely.

Are you enjoying driving the 2009-style cars?
I think we didn't really lose performance as everyone expected. The cars are quicker than last year, so with less downforce and slick tyres, you don't really feel any difference in speed. It's a bit different driving them, but I really like it. It's very good for F1 to be back on slick tyres.

What will your aims be for Shanghai?
The aims, as for the previous races, is to be reliable and get to the finish. This year I've got a 100% finish record so far, and I want to keep this up. We've seen that some of the other teams are having problems with KERS and the order is not so fixed at the moment so if you get to the finish there's a good chance you could do well. I think this should be our goal for now, but when we get back to Europe I want to be racing on merit, not just waiting for something to happen to another driver.

Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21, VJM02/01)
What have been your thoughts on the opening two races of the 2009 season?
We are definitely closer than we were last year. For sure qualifying is still a bit of a problem for us, but in Australia we were only a couple of tenths from the World Champion so we can't be too disappointed. In the race it's not looking too bad. The balance is good and I have had some nice fights with other cars. Unfortunately in Malaysia we made the wrong call with the tyres so we couldn't show our real performance there, but in Australia it was not too bad. We are racing and that's a step forward. We need more downforce now, but we have a clear direction to improve and I think this is really positive.

Is the field more competitive this year?
I think it is even tighter than it was last year and a lot more unpredictable too. Some teams you would expect to be up there at the front are midfield, and we've seen that if you get the strategy right or wrong it can make a really big difference. You just can't afford to slip up, even more so than last year.

Looking forward to Shanghai, what are your goals?
The main goal this weekend is to have a clean event without any mistakes, qualify well and to finish the race. I think it's too early to start hoping for points yet, but we need to keep the momentum going and get as much information as possible so when we introduce new parts we can really see an improvement.

Five Force India Chinese GP points of note:
- Giancarlo Fisichella has finished all five of the Chinese Grands Prix held so far. His best result was third in 2006
- The Chinese Grand Prix will be Force India's 21st entry into the FIA Formula One World Championship following its inception in 2008
- Adrian Sutil has spent the week between Malaysia and China in Bali, Indonesia
- The Force India team has launched an updated version of its website, www.forceindiaf1.com to coincide with the Chinese GP
- Force India's VJM02 was the fastest car in a straightline in Malaysia, with Adrian Sutil clocking 294kph and Giancarlo Fisichella 293kph

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Postby Ed » Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:55 pm

Adrian Sutil (car 20, VJM02/03):
FP1: 14th 1:38.319 (18 laps)
FP2: 11th 1:36.829 (30 laps)

Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21, VJM02/01):
FP1: 17th 1:38.460 (19 laps)
FP2: 20th 1:37.750 (31 laps)

The third event of the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship got underway today at the modern Shanghai International Circuit, China, with two 90 minute free practice sessions. As the track is unused for racing activities for the greater part of the year it typically takes some time for a layer of rubber to be laid down and, with this in mind, Force India adjusted its programme to conduct the bulk of the running in the afternoon's session.

Both Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella completed their programmes of set-up optimisation and comparing the tyre compounds available this weekend. Adrian enjoyed a strong day as he set the 14th quickest time in the morning and the 11th in the afternoon, just over one second from the pace-setting Brawn GP. Team-mate Giancarlo had a tougher day as he struggled to find a good balance on the VJM02, but with 50 laps over the day he gathered lots of information to improve overnight.

Adrian Sutil (car 20)
'It is a change to be here at this time of year. We are used to having around 30 degrees here so with the cooler temperatures it's much easier to drive although the tyres take a bit longer to warm up. The medium tyres are OK over the longer run, but very hard over a single lap. The supersoft on the other hand is fine for one lap but not as bad as we expected over the longer runs. Overall it went OK, we completed our work and the general balance is good. I'm pleased with the position so I think it was a good start.'

Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21)
'I'm not particularly happy with how today went. I am struggling with the car balance at the moment. It's not consistent just yet and I don't feel entirely comfortable. At the moment we don't have a problem with the tyres - in these temperatures we are pretty much OK. We have some ideas of what we can do so I think we will improve for tomorrow.'

Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer
'This weekend is going to be all about how we use the dry tyres and our Friday programme reflected this. We tried a lot of different things in a structured test and the VJM02 has been reliable and responsive to changes so far. The track was quite green today and hence low grip but it will evolve over the next two days and that will be something we have to account for as we approach qualifying and the race. It will be another tight qualifying session tomorrow.'

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Postby Ed » Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:18 pm

2009 Chinese Grand Prix Qualifying and Final Free Practice Report

Adrian Sutil (car 20, VJM02/03):
FP3: 17th 1:37.534 (17 laps)
Q1: 19th 1:37.669 (10 laps)

Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21, VJM02/01):
FP1: 18th 1:37.732 (18 laps)
Q1: 20th 1:37.672 (10 laps)


The Force India Formula One Team had a tougher day today as preparations for tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix continued. Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella got a solid performance from the VJM02 in free practice and qualifying for the race at the Shanghai International Circuit, however will line up in 19th and 20th positions respectively after yet another ultra competitive session. The pair will now be looking to have a stronger race tomorrow and consolidate the team's perfect finishing record so far this year.

Adrian Sutil (car 20)
'We knew it was going to be difficult here today. We couldn't find a balance as we don't have enough downforce just yet. This is our main issue and why it is very difficult to drive right now. Although today was tough, we should be more competitive in the race as the pace on Friday over longer runs was better. Our goal now is to finish without any incidents. We know our car is reliable so maybe we can pick up some places like this.'

Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21)
'Today it felt better than yesterday but it was still tough. We are lacking grip aerodynamically, particularly in the slow speed corners. This race might be tough but we know there is another step to come in Bahrain so the aim here is to get to the finish. We need to have a good strategy and try to do what we can.'

Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer
'Both drivers found low grip and a difficult balance today. The one lap performance just wasn't there and that is reflected in our start positions. We had a good race car on Friday over longer runs and, combined with some interesting opportunities in the race, we are looking for a solid finish.'

Ed
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Postby Ed » Sun Apr 19, 2009 9:38 pm

2009 Chinese Grand Prix Race Report

Adrian Sutil (car 20, VJM02/03):
17th: 1:47:11.887 (DNF - lap 50)

Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21, VJM02/01):
14th: 1:58:08.816 (+ 1 lap)

19 April 2009 - The Force India Formula One Team put in its most competitive performance yet in today's rain-lashed Chinese Grand Prix. Adrian Sutil was just six laps from scoring the team's first-ever World Championship points after an aggressive strategy and mistake-free drive put him into sixth position in the closing stages of the race. The German pitted and refuelled on lap four under the first safety car period and then again on lap 19, allowing him to move steadily up the field until he was fighting with defending world champion Lewis Hamilton for sixth. Sadly the rain increased just minutes from the end and, on worn tyres, Adrian was unable to catch his car from aquaplaning off the track and into the barriers.

Team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella also put in a very respectable performance and graduated up the order to 11th by the midpoint of the race. The Italian finished in 14th position overall to consolidate Force India's ninth place in the constructors' championship ahead of defending constructors' champions Ferrari.

Adrian Sutil (car 20)
'I had prepared myself for a hard race and that's exactly what it was. We took a risk with the strategy with a very early stop and it was a long way to go with one set of tyres. Then it started to rain again and it was very hard to keep the car on the circuit. Sometimes even in a straight line in fourth or fifth gear I was struggling with aquaplaning and I was very lucky to keep the car on the circuit for so long. It's a shame - you focus so much and think you can do it, but the car was just out of control at the end. I had the same feeling as Monaco - it's hard to believe when you are in the car and then suddenly you lose it and it's all over from such a great position. But you have to get over it, we had a great performance today. It's good for the team and I think we deserved the points, I just feel bad for everyone here. It was a very good strategy call, but that's what we had to do: take a risk.'

Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21)
'It was a difficult race. The rain was really hard at the beginning, but my main problem was the graining on the tyres. With both sets we had a lot of wear and the car was sliding on four wheels through some corners. It was very hard just to keep the car on the ground and many times I had a huge moment. The strategy was good though and I think we can be pleased with the performance today. It's a disappointment that Adrian came so close to scoring the team's first points today, but we all know how hard it was out there.'

Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal
'What a phenomenal race and yet what heartbreak. We can all be very proud of Adrian and the team's achievements today. He has proved yet again that he has a genuine flair in the wet and came desperately close to scoring those elusive points once more. We made all the right calls in the race and functioned very well as a team: it was just such a shame we couldn't translate it to the points at the end of the race. Although we know we have much work remaining, both Adrian and Giancarlo's performances give us a shot in the arm and shows that, if and when, the conditions allow we can be right up there. I must also extend my warm congratulations to Red Bull for a well-deserved first win.'

Ed
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Postby Ed » Sun Apr 19, 2009 11:01 pm

Adrian Sutil Q&A: 'We should all be very proud of this race'

Adrian Sutil put in another brilliant wet weather performance for Force India in China, running as high as sixth - ahead of Lewis Hamilton - before aquaplaning caught him out and pitched him into the tyre wall with less than six laps to go. Adrian had started with a light fuel load, but the team changed strategy in the early laps behind the safety car by bringing him in and giving him more fuel. Once the race finally got going he pitted again on lap 19 and filled up to run to the flag in what was in effect a one-stop strategy. Running a very heavy car and keeping his extreme wet tyres alive for such a long stint was a huge challenge. We asked him for his thoughts on the race.

Q: You had a fantastic race in the wet in Monaco last year, and another one here, but sadly both ended in retirement. What are your feelings about today?
'Our performance was really very good and we should all be very proud of this race. It was a risk to go on one-stop, because I stopped very early. I was very light at the beginning and then under the safety car we went into the pits and just filled it up. We knew it would have been tight on the tyres, but the grip in the corners was enough to stay in a good position, but with the aquaplaning on the straights it was sometimes hard to keep it on the circuit. You never knew what was going to happen because the car went to the left or the right. With six laps to go I hit another patch of water and ended up in the wall. It was very disappointing.'

Q: That set of tyres had to do a lot of laps. How did they look when you stopped?
'They were still OK, but the profile goes down and down. We're talking about a few millimetres, but it is still enough to cause a lot of problems with the water. I got a lot of understeer, and the traction went down of course, but after 30 laps that's how it is.'

Q: Was it fun taking on the McLarens in an equal fight?
'Yes it was good! I made a good pass on Kovalainen when he went out of the pits, so I could take his position. Then I was behind Lewis, and in the end he was behind me. It was nice to just race the guys in the front there. We had really good pace, so that was promising.'

Q: In Monaco you had the reigning World Champion behind you when you retired, and you did this time as well!
'That's true. Maybe it's a little bit of bad luck then! It's just a little co-incidence, but it's nice to race the World Champions of course, when we don't have the fastest car in the field right now.'

Q: Since Monaco there have been several wet races and potential opportunities, but luck hasn't been on your side. Was it good to finally have another chance to show what you can do?
'This was very nice, I'm pleased that it happened like this. We could have done a safe run, changed tyres, and maybe we would have been in the back. But that's not the way we want it to go, we had to take a risk because we know that we're good in the wet. Of course we were unlucky and it wasn't possible to bring it home, but sometimes it's just bad luck if you hit a patch of water. We couldn't do anything about it.'

Q: You filled up quite early. How close was it going to be on fuel?
'We were on the limit, but it was definitely enough, we just checked it. I tried to save a lot of fuel during the race. I knew it was going to be a long way to the end. In the last 10 laps I was attacking again, because we didn't need to save the fuel anymore.'

Q: We're unlikely to have a wet race in Bahrain next week. Any thoughts on going there?
'I think there we'll have seriously dry conditions! We'll get a few updates on the car which will help us get a better performance in qualifying. But again it's going to be difficult. We're at the back of the field right now, and we have to take our chances, like we did here, and try to move on. Development is going on, and we're getting new upgrades for the next few races, hopefully it's enough to progress.'

Ed
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Postby Ed » Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:58 pm

Bahrain Grand Prix Preview
24 - 26 April 2009

Just one week after the dramatic Chinese Grand Prix, in which Adrian Sutil so nearly scored Force India's first points, the team will be back in action for the fourth event of the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship season, the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The kingdom of Bahrain, located in the heart of the Persian Gulf, broke new ground when it became the first-ever Middle Eastern country to host a round of the championship in 2004.

The race is held at the Sakhir International Circuit in the desert outside the capital Manama. The 5.412km Hermann Tilke-designed facility follows the contours of the rolling sand dunes, out into the desert. The circuit's long straights mean this is a circuit where engine performance is especially important and it has one of the highest wide open throttle times per lap of almost anywhere else in the championship except Monza. After all these long straights braking down into the slower corners gives a high wear rate for brakes - possibly the highest of the year.

The race is held in the Bahraini springtime and temperatures normally average 30 C. The chance of rain is however incredibly slim - there is an average one day of rain in this region in April. Statistically, this makes it the driest race of the year.

Team Q&A

Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal
The last round of the championship in China saw a strong performance for the team. Has this boosted confidence?
I think the team's performance in China was very encouraging. We functioned well as a unit, made the correct calls from the pit wall and showed again that when the conditions allow we can be competitive. Both Adrian and Giancarlo drove phenomenal races and really did the team proud. We know we still have work to do and putting in these performances in every race is still a distant goal, but I feel confident there are good foundations now. It's a boost for everyone not to lose hope as we can still surprise.

Are there some new developments coming through this race?
We are planning to introduce a significant aerodynamic upgrade for the Bahrain Grand Prix, including a new floor and an interim diffuser. Amongst other items, we also plan to use new auxiliary wings on the front wing and reprofiled sidepods to incorporate the amended rear end. We have been planning this upgrade since the debut of the VJM02 as part of our scheduled aerodynamic cycle and it will represent a good step forward for the team. Although we nevertheless expect other teams to have moved forward as well, we hope this will keep us racing with the rest of the field.

And what are the expectations for Bahrain?
As usual, we know points are going to be very difficult to achieve and we should not set this as a goal for Bahrain. Yes, Adrian had a very strong race in China and very nearly achieved our ultimate goal far earlier than anyone could have expected, but we should not look on the Chinese Grand Prix as indicative of our general form. Instead, we need to focus once more on reliability and consistency and look to be there if circumstances allow.


Driver Q&A
Adrian Sutil (car 20, VJM02/03)
You had a fantastic race out in China. What are your thoughts on the race now, three days on?
The team should be proud of the race we had and the performance we showed in China. Of course I am disappointed we didn't get the ultimate result, but you have to get over it as there is always the next race. For sure we deserved the points, but we¡¦re not giving up as there are always other chances. We've refocussed and are now looking forward to Bahrain, which is a race I enjoy, there's something very different about racing in the desert.

And what are your goals for the next round of the championship in Bahrain?
The goals for Bahrain are really going to be the same as for China. For sure I want to finish the job, but I think getting points here will be very difficult. I want to keep the reliability record we have shown so far this year it's my best start to a season since I came into F1 in 2007 and I want to maintain this finish rate.

What are your thoughts on the developments coming through for this race?
The new parts we have coming through for this race should keep us close to the others and I hope we will be able to have a good, competitive race, but we need to focus on our own performance and try to improve as much as possible so when we get to Europe we can really be fighting.

Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21, VJM02/01)
How would you review the first three races?
Mechanically the VJM02 is good. It feels quite balanced and consistent and is a big improvement from last year. We're working well with the new team partners, McLaren and Mercedes, and I think we have a lot we can be positive about. We know where we need to improve: we are missing a lot of downforce and it shows, but now we have started to introduce new upgrades I am hopeful we can start to fix this problem.

What are your aims for Bahrain?
I feel quite positive about Bahrain. We have some new parts coming through from the factory and I hope they will be an improvement in overall pace. We've still got some way to go to be able to race for points, but at least this will keep us competitive. As with China, we've got to focus on getting to the end and seeing where we are.

Ed
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Postby Ed » Sat May 09, 2009 1:48 am

2009 Bahrain Grand Prix Free Practice Report

Adrian Sutil (car 20, VJM02/03):
FP1: 14th 1:35.021 (18 laps)
FP2: 7th 1:33.763 (30 laps)

Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21, VJM02/01):
FP1: 16th 1:35.042 (16 laps)
FP2: 12th 1:34.025 (23 laps)

24 April 2009 - Just five days after the Chinese Grand Prix, the Force India Formula One Team took to the track at the Sakhir International Circuit for the first of the practice sessions ahead of this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix.

Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella used the two 90 minute sessions to evaluate the new aero package introduced for this race, which includes a new floor and modified front wing. The drivers completed a combined total of 87 laps despite the scorchingly hot conditions, with ambient temperatures peaking at 39 C and track at 51 C. The pair steadily improved their relative performance over the day and, in one of the closest-ever Fridays where all cars were covered by 1.4secs, finished the second practice with Adrian sitting comfortably inside the top 10 with the seventh best time, only four tenths from the fastest lap, and Giancarlo classified 12th.

Following a final hour practice session tomorrow morning qualifying will begin at 14:00hrs local time.

Adrian Sutil (car 20)
'The second session was quite a bit better as the track was very dirty and sandy in the morning. We also tried the softer tyre that seemed to help a lot with the stability. It's quite good balance-wise for a Friday, we can still tweak the general set-up and we still have to look at the brakes as I'm not 100% comfortable right now. I think the update package has helped us - if I look at my position in the afternoon, I think it is the best position I have been in ever on a Friday. Although it's difficult to draw conclusions from this, the car feels good so let's see how we go tomorrow.'

Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21)
'Today I am happier and more comfortable with the car: it feels like we have made a step forward with the new updates. The car is more consistent and I think we have reduced the gap to the others but let's see tomorrow. The team did a fantastic job to have this package here and I look forward to tomorrow to seeing where we are on the grid.'

Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer
'Today's practice sessions were two of the hottest we've run for quite some time. As expected the circuit grip was initially low but the drivers coped quite well and got to grips with their programmes. Giancarlo looked at some set-up options and Adrian concentrated on the tyres in what was all together a productive day. The updates to the car appear to be working as expected and we are hopeful for a stronger qualifying tomorrow.'


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