Force India

Formula 1 Team reports for the 2010 F1 season includes race previews, reports and reviews

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Force India

Postby Ed » Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:34 pm

Force India completes driver line-up: Paul di Resta signs as test and reserve driver

Today the Force India Formula One Team and principal sponsors, Whyte & Mackay, confirmed that Paul di Resta will be the team's test and reserve driver for the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship. The news was announced at a press conference held at Whyte & Mackay's Glasgow headquarters in Paul's native Scotland.

Twenty-three year old Paul, from West Lothian, impressed in his three day test in Jerez, Spain, in December 2009. He will now attend all races on the 2010 calendar and the team envisages he will participate in a number of Friday practice sessions to fully understand the VJM03, particularly given the ban on in-season testing will continue into next year. Additionally Paul will combine his F1 activities with a programme in DTM, which will serve the dual purpose of allowing Paul to learn the current F1 tracks while keeping his racing skills sharp.

Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal, commented, 'I would like to thank both Paul and JR Hildebrand for their commitment in the test in Jerez. Both worked very hard and were impressive in the test. We are very proud to have someone of Paul's calibre joining the team as his potential was clear in the test and he has the right attitude for making it in F1. The programme we have put together will allow him to get to grips with the car, the team and the environment and various pressures associated with F1 and we look forward to this becoming a very fruitful partnership.'

Paul di Resta added, 'I am ecstatic to finally get the chance to move into F1 at last. I'm pleased I can start my F1 career with Force India, a team that has a lot of potential. I see this move as taking me one step closer to achieving my dream of racing in F1 but I know I have a lot to learn in terms of the car and the tracks right now. I think this programme is a perfect way to prepare fully and be ready to go if and when the chance of a race seat comes. I hope this will be the start of a long-term future with Force India. With the support of all of the team, including Whyte & Mackay, I'm sure we will grow together.'

John Beard, Chief Executive of Whyte & Mackay added, 'Whyte & Mackay is proud of its global association with Force India and we are excited about the upcoming F1 season. It's an added thrill for a Scotch whisky brand to see a talented Scottish driver achieve his Formula One ambitions. We welcome Paul to the team and look forward to working with him towards a successful season in 2010.

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Postby Ed » Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:09 am

Force India VJM03 completes first day of testing in Jerez
Jerez test report - day one of four

10 February 2010 - The Force India Formula One Team's 2010 challenger, the VJM03, made its official testing debut today at the Circuit de Jerez in Spain. Tonio Liuzzi was on driving duties and, despite the mainly wet conditions, covered more than 300km in a largely trouble-free run.

The programme today focussed on system familiarisation in the morning and then balance runs in the afternoon. The team was able to finish the plan and create a solid platform for the rest of the test.

Tonio will continue in the VJM03 tomorrow before Adrian Sutil takes over on Friday and Saturday. Paul di Resta will get his hands on the VJM03 on 17 February.

Tonio Liuzzi
Today was definitely a good beginning to our testing programme. It was mainly about getting comfortable in the car, running through the systems. We did more than 70 laps and the car was reliable with no big issues, which is a very good starting point. Unfortunately we did just three laps in the dry in the morning before it started to rain. We are however pretty happy with how the day ended and now are looking forward to tomorrow where hopefully the weather will be better.

Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer
We are pleased to have completed just over 300km today in what turned out to be mostly wet conditions. The work consisted of general characterisation of the new car's systems. Tomorrow we will continue this process and start to find out more about the balance and the 2010 tyres. It's really good to be back at the track and to see the team working together again in earnest for the first time in 2010.

Testing data
Driver: Tonio Liuzzi
Track: Circuito de Jerez, Spain
Best lap time: 1:24.968 (dry) / 1:30.403 (wet)
Laps completed: 71
Kilometres completed: 314km
Air temperature: High of 12 C
Track temperature: High of 12 C
Weather: Mainly wet and windy

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Postby Ed » Fri Feb 12, 2010 10:05 am

Encouraging second day of testing for Force India
Jerez test report - day two of four

11 February 2010 - Tonio Liuzzi continued Force India's testing programme today at the Circuito de Jerez in Spain. Tonio put the VJM03 through its paces on its second official test day, completing 80 laps with a best time of 1:20.754.

In contrast to yesterday's rain-lashed session the weather remained clear and dry throughout, allowing the team to gather vital systems data. The morning's programme concentrated on aero development while the afternoon's running included comparison runs of the new Bridgestone tyre compounds available this year.

Adrian will take over for the second part of the test tomorrow and will conclude running on Saturday.

Tonio Liuzzi
I think that we can be pretty happy about today. We covered a lot of laps and a lot of the test items we wanted to. For sure we still have to look into a few more areas but overall the car is responding well and reacts to all the changes. We tested different settings and different conditions and overall it was always positive, so I have to say we can be really satisfied about how it's going. The team did a good job and now we have to keep pushing for the next days of testing as we still have to extrapolate the best out of the car.

Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer
We used the morning for various aerodynamic measurements today and made some comparisons of the 2010 dry tyres in the afternoon along with getting a balance in the VJM03. Since it was the first time the car has run in the dry we have a fair amount of new data to analyse, but so far the car appears to be performing as we expected. Adrian will continue work tomorrow as he takes over the car for the remainder of this test.

Testing data
Driver: Tonio Liuzzi
Track: Circuito de Jerez, Spain
Best lap time: 1:20.754
Laps completed: 80
Kilometres completed: 354km
Air temperature: High of 15 C
Track temperature: High of 34 C
Weather: Warm and sunny throughout.

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Postby Ed » Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:21 pm

Sutil takes over for day three of Force India test

Jerez test report - day three of four

12 February 2010 - Adrian Sutil took over the the VJM03 for the third day of the Force India F1 Team's testing programme at the Jerez circuit in Spain. Again heavy rain from approximately 10:00hrs blighted running for the majority of the day, however Adrian completed some dry laps before the weather front arrived. His best lap, 1:21.428, was posted in this dry period and remained the third fastest time.

Adrian's programme followed on from Tonio's schedule of the previous two days, with systems checks, long runs and set-up evaluation. The heavy rain and frequent red flags compromised some of the schedule, however Adrian completed 48 laps before an electrical fault halted him on track some 90 minutes before the end of the session.

Adrian Sutil
This morning it was nice to have some dry running. The car is good and I think it's a positive place to start. I'm very confident on the general speed of the car. Unfortunately the rain came in quite early and then it was really waiting for reasonable conditions to go out. We had a problem in the afternoon that caused us to miss a bit of track time, but considering it was so wet it would have been very difficult to get a lot of running in anyway. I'm pleased to at least have had some dry running and some more time in the car and am looking forward to getting started again tomorrow.

Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer
Today's programme attempted to condense dry weather testing into the start of the day, and following the expected onset of rain at mid-morning we moved to aerodynamic testing. Some further new components were introduced successfully and the intermediate and then wet conditions allowed Adrian to look at tyre options for these conditions. We had an issue that resulted in some downtime in the afternoon, but with the weather worsening it didn't cost us much track time and that is what testing with a new car is about.

Testing data
Driver: Adrian Sutil
Track: Circuito de Jerez, Spain
Best lap time: 1:21.428
Laps completed: 48
Kilometres completed: 213km
Air temperature: High of 13 C
Track temperature: High of 10 C
Weather: Very rainy

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Postby Ed » Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:15 pm

Positive end to first Force India test
Jerez test report - day four of four

13 February 2010 - The Force India Formula One Team has finished the VJM03's maiden test in Jerez on a positive note, with Adrian Sutil posting the second quickest time of the day, a 1:20.180 behind McLaren's Lewis Hamilton.

Conditions today remained dry from mid morning, allowing the team to run through systems checks, set-up evaluation and tyre comparisons. Adrian completed 84 laps of the Spanish track to bring the total test mileage to more than 1,200km.

Testing resumes next week, again at Jerez, from 17 - 20 February. New test and reserve driver Paul di Resta will get his first outing in the VJM03 on 17 February before Adrian and Tonio take over for the remainder of the test.

Adrian Sutil
In the end we did some really good runs, concentraing mainly on getting as much experience as we could with the new tyres. Set-up wise, we were pretty good already and the car balance is not so far away. We also tried a couple of longer runs and saving the tyres seems to be the key point as we could set some quick times on the early laps but then the tyres dropped off towards the end of the runs. We weren't going for a time, just trying to get as much information as possible at this stage to feed back into the programme for next week.

Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer
We completed the final day of the test with a greater mileage than the previous days despite some poor weather to begin with and a planned period of downtime, which is positive. Overall our objectives today were completed, meaning some mechanical and bodywork test items and tyre comparisons. It's been a good first test with the VJM3 confirming the base characteristics of the car and the most prominent effects of the regulation changes for 2010.

Testing data
Driver: Adrian Sutil
Track: Circuito de Jerez, Spain
Best lap time: 1:20.180
Laps completed: 84
Kilometres completed: 372km
Air temperature: High of 9 C
Track temperature: High of 17 C
Weather: Rain to start but dried mid morning, although remained overcast

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Postby Ed » Thu Feb 18, 2010 11:12 am

Force India testing resumes in Jerez
Jerez II test report - day one of four

17 February 2010 - The Force India Formula One Team resumed its VJM03 testing programme at the Circuito de Jerez today as the first of a four day programme got underway. New test and reserve driver Paul di Resta got his first taste of the 2010 challenger in the morning before Adrian Sutil took over for the afternoon's running.

As was the case for last week's test, running was punctuated by heavy rain storms and cloudy skies with high winds also a disrupting factor. However in a productive day working through set-up and control systems checks, Paul completed over 300km while Adrian covered 120km, bringing the day's mileage to more than 450km.

Paul di Resta
Today was my first run in the new car and it felt pretty good. The objective was to get as much running as possible and we managed over 300km, which was a great effort, particularly given the bad weather conditions we had over the morning. It seemed to be drying out and then the rain would return again so you were in a sort of no man's land with the tyres. Even with this type of weather though I could get an impression of the car. It seems stable and good all round, a genuine improvement on the car I drove last year. I'll be back in the car in Barcelona and am looking forward to it already.

Adrian Sutil
It was a short session for me today. I only started my first run just before 4pm when the track was drying in places but there were still a few damp patches on the racing line. We did two long runs on the slick tyres but in the mixed conditions it was hard to get a view on the car. But at this stage all running is good and we're ready to go out again tomorrow to get some more mileage and data on the car.

Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer
Paul completed 76 laps today in unsettled conditions to get his first experience of the VJM03. He also carried out some control systems tests and ran wet, intermediate and dry tyres. During a very windy afternoon Adrian took over the car for a short programme in predominantly dry conditions continuing set-up development from last week's test. The VJM03 ran reliably all day, which gives a good basis for the remaining three days.

Testing data
Driver: Paul di Resta (am) / Adrian Sutil (pm)
Track: Circuito de Jerez, Spain
Best lap time: 1:25.088 (Paul) / 1:24.272 (Adrian)
Laps completed: 104 (Paul 76 / Adrian 28 )
Kilometres completed: 461km (Paul 337km / Adrian 124km)
Air temperature: High of 17C
Track temperature: High of 21C
Weather: Intermittent rain

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Postby Ed » Fri Feb 19, 2010 9:09 am

Di Resta and Liuzzi take over VJM03 testing in Jerez
Jerez II test report - day two of four

18 February 2010 - Inclement weather conditions again played a starring role in testing at the Circuito de Jerez, Spain, today. With the heavy rain showers and high winds that have so far characterised the testing showing no signs of abating, Force India was obliged to modify its testing schedule slightly to allow the race drivers the best chance of the forecasted better weather later this week, with Paul di Resta getting another half day testing in the VJM03 before Tonio Liuzzi took over in the afternoon.

The team made the most of the amended programme to run through further set-up evaluation, plus race preparation and fuel and hydraulic systems checks. With no major issues Paul and Tonio completed over 250km in total.

Adrian will continue tomorrow before Tonio gets back in the car on Saturday to conclude the test.

Paul di Resta
I was back in the car this morning to get a bit more running. Unfortunately the weather was again very bad, but at this stage any running gives me more experience of the car and how the team works. I ran with the intermediate and wet tyres over the morning, which at least means I have got some solid experience of wet running and it won't be such a novelty when I am faced with similar conditions in places such as Malaysia.

Tonio Liuzzi
The weather was so difficult today with the constantly changing conditions. It seemed to rain every hour and then dry, but it never reached a stable level: it was either too dry for wets or too wet for dry tyres so you couldn't get a consistent indicator of the performance. We did a few pit stop simulations and runs to get a bit more information and the car still seems to be responding well to changes. In these conditions though it's very difficult to get a good understanding of what's going on but everyone has the same weather, we just have to do what we can.

Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer
The poor weather continued today with gusting wind and heavy showers. Accordingly we worked on general race preparation and some fuel system and hydraulic system tests. Paul took the car for the morning, this time handing over to Tonio who finished up this afternoon. With the track as it was we didn't have a chance to use dry tyres properly, but are hopeful for better conditions for the rest of the week.

Testing data
Driver: Paul di Resta (am) / Tonio Liuzzi (pm)
Track: Circuito de Jerez, Spain
Best lap time: 1:30.344 (Paul) / 1:30.666 (Tonio)
Laps completed: 57 (Paul 33 / Tonio 24)
Kilometres completed: 252km (Paul 146km / Tonio 106km)
Air temperature: High of 13C
Track temperature: High of 13C
Weather: Rain

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Postby Ed » Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:39 pm

Sutil takes over for Force India in Jerez
Jerez II test report - day three of four

19 February 2010 - Adrian Sutil took over the VJM03 for the penultimate day of testing at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit today. In hugely improved weather conditions, Adrian completed 69 laps of the Spanish track as he worked through a programme of long and short runs, weight distribution and race preparation.

Tonio Liuzzi will resume driving duties tomorrow for the final day of the four day test.

Adrian Sutil
Today was our first proper shot at dry running this test and it went pretty well. In the morning we did a few short runs and some set-up work and then in the afternoon moved on to longer runs and getting more information on the new tyres. At the end of the day we wanted to do a further run but unfortunately a red flag came out so we didn't do as many laps as we would have liked over the whole day. The tyres at the moment are quite difficult to handle as the soft compound grains up very quickly in the low temperatures. The mediums last a bit longer but still grain after 10 or 12 laps. There's no way to avoid it at the moment but I'm not too concerned as I am sure they will handle better in the higher temperatures we'll see in the races.

Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer
After last night's rather dramatic flooding a much better day in Jerez. Adrian looked at weight distribution and car set-up during the session. Dry running today has allowed us to learn some interesting things about the car and the 2010 tyres. We were only really limited by a number of red flag periods.

Testing data
Driver: Adrian Sutil
Track: Circuito de Jerez, Spain
Best lap time: 1:21.939
Laps completed: 69
Kilometres completed: 306km
Air temperature: High of 14 C
Track temperature: High of 29 C
Weather: Warmer and sunny

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Postby Ed » Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:26 pm

Liuzzi concludes Jerez test for Force India
Jerez II test report - day four of four

20 February 2010 - Tonio Liuzzi brought the VJM03's second test to a close today at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit. The Italian covered 80 laps of the Spanish track with a programme that included work on set-up and understanding the car's behaviour with the heavier fuel loads necessitated by the race refuelling ban this year. His fastest lap of 1:19.650 was the fourth quickest of the day.

The team's testing programme will now move to Barcelona next week from 25 - 28 February. Tonio will drive for the first two days, with Adrian Sutil taking over for the final two days.

Tonio Liuzzi
Today was a really productive day for us. We covered 80 laps without any issues and got through our programme of test items for this week. Everything went pretty well - we worked on understanding the car's performance with different fuel loads and ran through some set-up changes and the car is responding well. We still need to work on the tyres over the longer runs and will continue this at the next test in Barcelona. Overall I think we can be very satisfied with how this test has gone and can look forward to another good test next week.

Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer
A good day to finish the eight days of testing in Jerez. Tonio completed a broad programme of set-up tests and we are satisfied with what was learned. We've made good progress this week, having tidied up some reliability issues, and developed our set-up options with the VJM03. The team has begun its race preparation in earnest and we will head to Barcelona to continue this work over the final test before the first race of 2010.

Testing data
Driver: Tonio Liuzzi
Track: Circuito de Jerez, Spain
Best lap time: 1:19.650
Laps completed: 80
Kilometres completed: 355km
Air temperature: High of 16C
Track temperature: High of 24C
Weather: Sunny spells

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Postby Ed » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:39 pm

Force India announces technical department restructure

23 February 2010 - The Force India Formula One Team today announced a restructure to its technical department ahead of the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship season, due to James Key, technical director, leaving the team to pursue new opportunities. Mark Smith, formerly design director, will now become technical director and will assume responsibility for the entire mechanical and aerodynamic design of the team's challengers.

James has been a long-standing member of the team, first joining Jordan Grand Prix in 1998 as a data engineer before progressing to test engineer and later senior race engineer for Takuma Sato. In 2003, James joined the aerodynamic group and was then promoted to head of vehicle science towards the end of that year before becoming technical director in 2005.

Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal, said, 'We would like to thank James for his commitment and drive over his 12 years with the team. Over this period he has seen four changes of owners, but his consistency and drive have enabled the team to field cars that have often belied our small size. We wish him every success in his future endeavours. For Force India, we will now undergo a slight restructure where Mark will take responsibility for the whole design process and various departments within the drawing office and we are confident we will have both the resources and the personnel to continue our strong progress shown at the end of 2009.'

James Key commented, 'I have spent the majority of my motor racing career within the team and although a difficult decision I felt the time was right for me to move on to new opportunities. After four owners and various changes and challenges, to field a car that got a pole position and a podium seemed like a culmination of all the efforts. While I'm sad to leave a team I know so well, one which has allowed me to realise many ambitions within F1, I'm looking forward to a new start. The VJM03 is now up and running and early indications are good, I wish Force India all the very best for the next and coming seasons.'

Mark Smith will now assume the role of technical director with responsibility for all of the technical departments. Mark was one of the first Jordan employees and progressed through the team's ranks to become joint chief designer. After 11 years with Jordan, Mark joined Renault Formula 1 as chief designer before joining Red Bull Racing in 2005, initially as deputy technical director and then technical director. Mark re-joined Force India in November 2007.

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Postby Ed » Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:18 am

Liuzzi opens final Force India test in Barcelona
Barcelona test report - day one of four

25 February 2010 - Tonio Liuzzi was on driving duty for Force India on the opening day of the four day test at the Circuit de Catalunya, the final test ahead of the start of the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Weather conditions were significantly better than the previous two weeks' tests in Jerez and Tonio was able to complete 65 laps without major issue. Several red flag periods interrupted some of the team's planned running, however his best lap of 1:24.064 was still the sixth quickest of the day. With track conditions relatively 'green' Tonio's programme principally concentrated on pit stop practice and drills and general set-up work.

Tonio will remain in the car for a second day tomorrow before Adrian Sutil takes over on Saturday.

Tonio Liuzzi
Once we realised the track was really green and not good enough to conduct some useful testing, we concentrated on set-up and pit stop practice to get back into the rhythm of a race weekend. Overall it was quite OK but we concentrated a lot on the pit stop practice to get the guys back up to speed. Tomorrow will be where we move to look at performance and long runs so it should be a more representative day regarding the pace of the new car.

Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer
The first day of our final pre-season test was concentrated on race team pitstop practice, with simulations of live race stops and various different race scenarios conducted through the day. The circuit conditions weren't particularly good today, and tomorrow will be used to continue our set-up and development programme.

Testing data
Driver: Tonio Liuzzi
Track: Circuit de Catalunya, Spain
Best lap time: 1:24.064
Laps completed: 65
Kilometres completed: 303km
Air temperature: High of 18 C
Track temperature: High of 27 C
Weather: Warm and sunny

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Postby Ed » Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:11 am

Liuzzi completes second day of testing in Barcelona
Barcelona test report - day two of four

26 February 2010 - Force India F1 Team's preparation for the start of the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship continued in testing at Barcelona as Tonio Liuzzi worked through an intensive programme that included a full race distance.

After completing shorter runs in the morning, where he clocked his fastest time of 1:21.056, the fourth quickest of the day, Tonio started a race simulation after the lunchtime break. Aside from a red flag period shortly after his second stop for tyres, the VJM03 performed reliably throughout the day.

The team will now prepare the second chassis that will be tested by Adrian Sutil tomorrow.

Tonio Liuzzi
We can be quite happy about today's programme. We completed everything without any issues and the car showed very good reliability, even when we did the race simulation. Again it is responding very well and we are improving day by day so everything is looking positive. We still don't know where we are relative to the others, and we will only see in Bahrain, but overall we can be really happy. We now have two more days of testing to try and get as much information as possible.

Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer
Tonio covered more than 400km today with some performance work in the morning and long run evaluations in the afternoon. Good conditions today mean that the testing has proven very useful for data collection and analysis of the performance of the car in a race situation. Other test items today included some suspension components, fuel system and control systems testing.

Testing data
Driver: Tonio Liuzzi
Track: Circuit de Catalunya, Spain
Best lap time: 1:21.056
Laps completed: 90
Kilometres completed: 419km
Air temperature: High of 19 C
Track temperature: High of 31 C
Weather: Warm and sunny

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Postby Ed » Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:18 am

Barcelona test report - day three of four

26 February 2010 - Adrian Sutil replaced Tonio Liuzzi in testing at the Circuit de Catalunya today. After a switch to the second race chassis overnight last night, Adrian's morning programme was principally concentrated on baseline runs and set-up checks. Unfortunately when rain fell mid-morning the team was forced to change its afternoon plans to include performance running rather than a race distance as originally scheduled.

Adrian completed just 61 laps as a result, setting the seventh quickest time of the day, a 1:22.606. He will continue the test programme tomorrow.

Adrian Sutil
It was OK today but a little disappointing not to have been able to have more running. Again we have had rain so we had to wait some time to get some decent running. We only got 61 laps as I was hoping for better weather, particularly after last week's test in Jerez. Tomorrow should be better so that's when the real programme can start for me with a race simulation.

Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer
A slight change of plan today when the rain arrived, meaning that Adrian shook down a new chassis, but also completed a number of set-up tests rather than focussing on longer runs. It was difficult to conclude too much because of the track conditions, but we were able to uncover some useful items. With the final day of 2010 winter testing tomorrow expected to be dry, we are planning final race preparation work and aiming to complete as many of our test objectives as possible.

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Postby Ed » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:52 am

Force India testing concludes in Barcelona
Barcelona test report - day four of four

28 February 2010 - Adrian Sutil brought the Force India F1 Team's 2010 winter testing programme to a close at the Circuit de Catalunya today. The German ended the testing on a high with the fourth quickest time of the day, 0.139secs behind Lewis Hamilton.

Adrian worked through a full race programme today in anticipation of the start of the 2010 championship in just two weeks' time. He conducted a race simulation and qualifying runs, in addition to aero and brake work.

With a combined total of approximately 4,000km and 12 days of testing under its belt, the team will now head back to Silverstone to finalise preparations for the Bahrain Grand Prix on 14 March.

Adrian Sutil
I feel like this was the first proper test day for me. We did our long race simulation and I think we can be quite happy and confident. The pace was good, the tyre life was very good, and I was able to run a lot of laps on both the soft and the hard tyres without any problems so both compounds seem to be working really well for us. Also the qualifying sim went well. Speed-wise the car is competitive and we have to show it in Bahrain now.

Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer
This morning was very windy, and it was affecting the balance of the car quite a lot. We changed our programme because of this, completing some long run evaluations either side of lunch and some performance outings in the afternoon with Adrian. He also tested some different brake materials and some developments for the brake cooling. It was a good day to complete our 2010 winter testing programme, covering 100 laps and signing off our pre-season test objectives. The team has worked extremely hard these past four days and they deserve credit for a very intensive February of running.

Testing data
Driver: Adrian Sutil
Track: Circuit de Catalunya, Spain
Best lap time: 1:20.611
Laps completed: 100
Kilometres completed: 467km
Air temperature: High of 19 C
Track temperature: High of 23 C
Weather: Overcast but no rain

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Postby Ed » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:42 pm

Bahrain Grand Prix Preview
12 - 14 March 2010

8 March 2010 - 2010 marks the third year of competition in the FIA Formula One World Championship for the Force India F1 Team. After a positive finish to 2009, the team is hoping this season will be the one that firmly establishes it as a strong, competitive outfit regularly challenging for points and podiums whenever possible.

Consistency has been the key this year: Adrian Sutil and Tonio Liuzzi are retained as drivers and the team's technical package is an evolution of last year's increasingly competitive car. Paul di Resta, from Scotland, strengthens the driver line-up as test and reserve driver. Paul will participate in some free practice sessions this year, although not Bahrain as the race drivers will need to learn the new track configuration.

Over winter testing the team fared well, completing 12 days of testing and more than 4,000km and is now looking forward to the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Team Q&A
Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal
What are your thoughts ahead of what could be a crucial season for Force India?
We finished 2009 on a real high note - our first-ever points, a podium and one place up in the constructors' championship. That is enough in itself to set the bar much higher this season, but we're really determined to take it to the next level. Regular points and the odd podium have got to be the aim and we know it is possible. I have a lot of faith in the drivers and the technical staff, I think we've got into a very good rhythm together now.

Have you been encouraged by the performance over the winter?
I have been very encouraged by the entire performance, both at the track and at the factory. The testing times gave very positive headlines, but it is very difficult to know where we are until we get to Bahrain. Certainly however the initial reports from the drivers are encouraging and when that happens it's worth another three to four tenths - if they feel happy and confident in the car then that they can really attack.

What is it that has made the difference this year for Force India?
The key point was that last year we had a good baseline car and we improved throughout the year in a very structured manner. In the second part of the season we were very successful - at times we even had a potential winning car - and with that in mind we went into the winter and developed this foundation as much as possible. That stability is crucial and we have been able to focus 100% on emphasising the strong points while addressing the weaker areas. I think Mark [Smith] and his team have done an excellent job.

Driver Q&A
Adrian Sutil (car 14, VJM03/03)
Adrian, you've now finished the VJM03's winter testing programme - how did this go?
The baseline car we have now after 12 days of testing looks very good and promising. The changes we have made during the winter have all had a positive effect. Testing went well and although there was a lot of rain over the period, the last two days in Barcelona were OK. We did our long runs and a lot of work with the tyres so we are fully prepared. We are pretty confident that our car is good enough to be in the top ten in Bahrain.

From the testing, it is possible to see how the competition is faring?
You can see a little bit, but you can't be 100% sure as you never know what the other teams are doing with their programme. That said, you can tell that some of the big teams like McLaren and Ferrari look very strong on both the long runs and qualifying runs and are always on the top of the timesheets. I am expecting them to be on the top again in the race weekend but we are not far away and that's a really good sign.

One new addition to the team is a new team-mate for you in the form of Paul di Resta. You've raced against him before?
Yes, it was a long time ago, but in F3 in 2005 we raced against each other. I think he is a very good driver and it's great to have him on board in the team as he can help develop the car with us. He will do some Friday sessions too so will get some experience, it's a good opportunity for everyone.

Looking forward to Bahrain, what would be a good result for you?
Hopefully in the top ten and I think that should be possible. I would hope we could score a few points. For everything else, it is very difficult to say what else will happen, but I am fine with any position within the top 10 - that's my goal for the moment.

Tonio Liuzzi (car 15, VJM03/01)
You covered a lot of kilometres in pre-season testing. How did that go for you?
I had five and a half days in the car and I learnt a lot of things about the car over this time. We had several test items to get to the optimum level for the start of the season and generally every item we tested had a positive effect. The car responds very well to any change, it's definitely going in the right direction. For sure the weather didn't help, but fortunately the car showed formidable reliability and performance, so in my mind there is a really strong preparation for Bahrain and the rest of the season.

How would you judge this car compared to the other cars you have driven in your career?
In my five years of F1 this is definitely the best car I've driven, It's the most balanced, and knowing that has made me feel so much stronger and confident. Of course you can never know exactly where you are compared to the others but we can go to Bahrain feeling optimistic and positive.

And Bahrain has a new track lay-out. Have you had a chance to look at this?
I've had a look on Google earth and on the simulator. I think they have just made it much longer and slower and I'm not a big fan of this type of track as I love high speed corners and circuits. I don't think there will be any more overtaking opportunities as the track goes through too tight an area. But it's the same for everybody and we need to get used it. We'll see when we walk the track on Thursday.

What are your aims for this race?
For the first race we want to show that our winter work has paid off. Points are our target for the time being and getting into the top ten, as high as possible. Being realistic, a few points should be feasible and hopefully everything goes as well as in testing with good reliability for the first race.

Paul di Resta, test and reserve driver
Paul, it must have been a bit of a whirlwind since February when you were announced as the test and reserve driver. What have you been doing since then?
It's certainly been busy! I've been in Spain during all the F1 tests and it's been quite a hectic schedule with three tests in three weeks. I've also spent some time at the factory, getting to know the team and the engineers and generally settling in. I had two half days in the car in quite difficult rainy conditions, which was not ideal, but I did at least learn about what to expect when it does rain and how to find that level when you need to change tyres: hopefully it's something I will have to deal with later in my career. But it's nice to get a feeling for the car going into the season, the strong points and how we deal with weaker spots. Any experience for me at the moment is valuable.

You've also been testing the DTM cars as well, sometimes switching literally overnight. How has that been going - has it given you a taster of how things will go this year when you are swapping F1 for DTM?
F1 and DTM are quite different to each other but so far I have done a switch from F1 to DTM and then one back again. The last time I didn't even notice it had happened, so already I am learning how to deal with it. Both cars require a different mindset but I am sure I will be able to do it with more experience without really having to think about it.

What are your feelings heading into Bahrain?
For sure I am very excited. It's a great thrill to be going there as part of an F1 team. Although I'm not going to be driving during free practice, Bahrain is a great track, I've raced there before in F3, and I can't wait to get on the plane and head off for the first weekend. I'm realistic there are lots of challenges ahead of us and only in Bahrain will we really know where car is on the field, but everyone is very excited to see this. I can't wait.


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