Force India: 2008 Spanish GP preview 

Written by David on April 22nd, 2008 at 11:58 amLast Update: April 22nd, 2008 at 11:58 am

Force India F1: the new VJM-01Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: “For the Spanish Grand Prix we will introduce some more aerodynamic updates, which is really a continuation of our cycle of aero development that has produced new parts for every race so far this year. We tested these parts, and also some new parts for suspension set-ups and some improvements on the braking system, at the test in Barcelona last week. In general we had three very productive days with a lot of laps and worked through the whole of our test programme and certainly found some positive steps forward. This culminated in the dramatic improvement in lap times from the previous test, with all the drivers reporting improved downforce and grip. We have been very close to getting into Q2 and that has to be a target. We have also shown that we can race very competitively, so now we have to be racing to get into the top 10 and maybe even pick up a point. Overall we can go to Barcelona feeling very positive.”

Giancarlo Fisichella: “The VJM01 for sure seems to be moving forward with each race, and the Barcelona test confirmed this very clearly. It has more grip overall, but especially under braking, so it is more stable and we are able to push. We’ve gone from a 1min 22.2 lap round Barcelona in February to a 1min 20.7 at the test last week, which even if some is down to improved track conditions, it is still a step forward. With new aero parts coming in Spain too, I am pretty sure we can carry on with this progress as all the parts that have been fitted to the car so far have worked really well – our aero department has got the right ideas! This week’s Spanish Grand Prix will be as close as it has been in the past. I enjoy the track, it is one of my favourite circuits so if we play it right, I think we have a good chance. Our closest opponents at the moment are probably Toro Rosso and Honda; we are all just outside the point scoring area and are fighting for any chance. I want to be there fighting again this year and taking advantage of anything that comes our way.”

Adrian Sutil: “Bahrain was a difficult race for many reasons. At the first corner I came together with Coulthard and lost my front wing and picked up a puncture in my front left tyre, and the race was over really. I was very disappointed, but the most positive thing to take away was that I could finish the race. I could do some mileage, and just try different things with all the settings. It was like a test session really, and I tried to push to do it like a race simulation. When we could push the race pace was not bad. It’s very close, and I’m now looking to have the opportunity where I can really race with other cars. Unfortunately in the first three races there hasn’t been a chance, but if you see the race pace, compared with other cars we were really on it. Let’s see how it is in Barcelona. We had a very good test last week where we tried out some new parts, which worked well and gave an increase in grip and stability. I think with the small steps we have made we really have a chance go in to Q2 this time out.”

Colin Kolles, Team Principal: “Unfortunately we missed out on Q2 in Bahrain by just over a tenth, but again Giancarlo put in a very impressive race with very competitive lap times to finish 12th. Adrian had unfortunately an incident at the start that compromised his race, however he managed to finish the race with a strong performance. This outing in Bahrain demonstrated our improving form, which we hope will continue in Barcelona. Our targets this time out will be to reach Q2 in qualifying and to score points. We are working very hard to reach these targets and I am confident we will reach them sooner rather than later.”

Vijay Mallya: “A tenth of a second has never mattered as much as now. All the guys at the track and back at the factory are doing everything they possibly can to get every millisecond and we are now tantalisingly close to that competitive midfield group. I have every confidence and no doubt that it will come. If you look at what we have achieved over the winter in just five months, which isn’t very long in the context of this sport, you’ll see just how much we’ve come on. We’re no longer at the back and though it will get tougher here on in, it’s a golden opportunity for us. Our relative success has led to the popularity of Formula One growing exponentially in India. We’ve attracted a lot of positive print and TV coverage back home and everyone is congratulating the team on the progress we have made. We are deploying all our resources to keep it up and make sure that the team, and in turn the sport, retains this wave of support. No one expects miracles, but the fact that we qualified close to the top 16 and finished in the top 12 in Malaysia and Bahrain demonstrates everything is happening strongly and positively. At this stage of the season everything counts and that’s the challenge we face now.”

source: Force India

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