Force India hopeful of keeping momentum in Brazil
Brazilian GP preview - Force India Mercedes
The 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship nears its finale with the penultimate round of the championship next weekend. F1’s only round on the South American continent, the Brazilian Grand Prix, is held at the Interlagos circuit in the heart of Sao Paulo and is typically a cacophony of sound thanks to the stadium-esque setting of the track and the passionate fervour of the Brazilian fans.
Force India eagerly looks forward to round 18 following a strong race performance in Korea in which Tonio Liuzzi secured sixth position and a crucial eight points.
Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal
We came away from Korea pretty pleased with the result, particularly after a tough couple of races. Tonio did a great job over the race and to get eight more points was a brilliant effort. Adrian of course had a more difficult time but we managed to extend the gap over Williams by a point and regain our confidence levels. We can of course still optimise our performance but to come away with a slightly larger cushion for sixth in the championship is a satisfying step at this stage in the game.
I hope that Interlagos will be a good track for us. It’s lower downforce, which should play to the strengths of the car, and both drivers have performed well at the track in the past. It can also throw up unpredictable conditions, which we have shown we can shine in at events like Canada and Korea this year. Last year we qualified well and although the competition has got a whole lot tougher and closer I’m still hopeful we can put on a good show.
We’re bringing some small aero updates again and a couple of mechanical changes to tease everything we can out of the car. We felt that we didn’t get the maximum potential from the car in qualifying in Korea, so we’ll try to improve on that in Brazil to set us up for a better race. It’s really the final push so we’re putting all our heads together to get everything we can.
The Brazilian Grand Prix is always a really special event on the calendar for me. I love going to South America as I have some heritage there on my father’s side and the atmosphere at the track is really something special. The fans are so passionate that you can hear the cheers even when you’re in the car! The track itself is very enjoyable and moves up and down over the lap to give a real rollercoaster ride, particularly when you go down into the first corner - the car is almost sideways into the bend. It’s tough for sure as the ambient temperatures can be high and it’s sometimes very humid and when it rains, it rains hard as we saw in 2008. But the toughest is the bumps: when you’re going round the track during the race you really feel each one!
You need a car that’s quick on the straights but also stable through the twisty section at the lower part of the track so getting a good balance is key. Fortunately this year we’ve got a car that performs well on this type of track as we saw in Spa so I am very optimistic we can do a good job and get some more points.
Last year I was third on the grid but we know going into the event that it won’t be possible this season as we have the penalty from the Korean GP. I didn’t have a great race in Korea and now to have a penalty for the next race makes it even more disappointing. We never give up though and as we showed in the last race we have a very strong race pace and quite often a good strategy so we can make positions - Tonio moved up 11 positions in Korea. I’m very motivated to get over the penalty and get back ninth position in the drivers’ championship and of course to do everything I can to help the team get to sixth in the constructors’.
Korea was a fantastic race in the end - after a few difficult races we needed a race where things went well, we got to the finish and got some decent points. For the first time in a long time I had a really good feeling with the car. It was as if I was totally connected with it and that meant I could push with complete confidence.
We showed again that when conditions are tough we can be in the game. The team did a great job in the pit stop, deciding the right moment to change the tyres, and the stop was really quick. Everything was perfect and I had a really strong race. We didn’t make any mistakes after that, we made the right overtaking moves at the right time, everything was done at the right moment, and it paid off at the end.
For me it was really important to show we are back in business and the first thing I said on the radio to my engineers was the luck had to turn one day, sooner or later! Fortunately we were able to show that when things are going right, we are there, and we are fast, and we are ready to do great things. It’s good to see this, and we hopefully can have the same kind of result in the next few races.
I’m now really looking forward to Brazil. In qualifying I was fast in the rain, but then had an aquaplaning moment and started far down the grid but the race was very strong as I got my best finish of the short season there. I like the track, and I think we can be quite competitive there. I’ve come away from Korea on a positive note so hopefully we can keep that going for the next two races.
Paul di Resta, test and reserve driver
Korea was a fascinating experience for me as I saw how the team approaches a brand new track and facilities. Also to have that sort of race with the changing conditions gave a real insight into how the team deals with evolving situations and reacts to them. To get the result we did was also a real boost for the team as we’re in such a tight battle for sixth in the championship.
Now we’re off to Brazil, my first trip to the country, and another new track. I’ve enjoyed every minute of the season so far and preparing for each event, learning the circuits and getting to know the team. Even though it’s a busy part of the year for me with the DTM championship nearing its close as well it’s very exciting to be part of two such dynamic series at this point in time.