Sahara Force India looks forward to round five of the season, the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.
We may be approaching the fifth race of season, but it’s still difficult to get a true read on the relative competitiveness of all the teams. Each race has thrown up different surprises and it’s difficult to make any predictions before qualifying or the race.
The last race in Bahrain was certainly an eventful one for Sahara Force India, so it was particularly rewarding to see such an outstanding team performance with everyone delivering to the best of their ability. Our two-stop strategy was judged to perfection and helped earn Paul a valuable sixth place finish. It was a close call, though, because there was no more performance life in the tyres when Paul crossed the finish line. I want to thank the entire crew for their brilliant efforts during that weekend.
Now that the European season is upon us, we should be able to bring through more updates to the car. That will start this weekend when we run with some of the new parts we evaluated in Mugello last week. However, we have to remember that most teams will make a development step for Barcelona so it remains to be seen how this will impact on our relative performance.
As well as developments for the car we are pushing hard to maximise the strategies and the drivers are delivering excellent performances in the races. That’s so important this year with the margins between the teams so tight. If we can continue to deliver like we did in Bahrain then we should be able to remain in the hunt for points this weekend. - Dr Vijay Mallya
Paul on Barcelona
Paul Di Resta gets set for the start of the European season in Barcelona
Paul, looking back on Bahrain you must be pretty satisfied with the weekend as a whole…
I think when you have a result like that you feel very proud of everyone in the team. Everybody stepped up and helped deliver the performance. The strategy was a bold one, but it was the right one and gave us one of our best results in the last couple of years.
Did the test in Mugello help your preparations for Barcelona?
We didn’t do a massive number of laps but it was a chance to start evaluating some of our car developments. There’s still plenty of work to do in free practice to get on top of the car, but we’ve already done the basic checks.
Are you looking forward to getting back to racing in Europe?
I probably know Barcelona better than any other track on the calendar. We did two tests there in the winter and I had four days in the car so I already feel quite well prepared, but it’s the same for everyone. I expect the field to be incredibly close once again.
Nico on Barcelona
Nico Hulkenberg reveals his thoughts ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix
Nico, the start of the European season is upon us. Are you looking forward to racing in Barcelona?
It’s a track I enjoy and where I’ve been successful in the past. It’s high-speed, there are lots of right hand corners and it’s quite tough physically, especially on your neck. As a city I enjoy being in Barcelona because it’s a great place with a nice atmosphere. Also, the stands are always full on race day because the Spanish fans love Formula One.
What are the main challenges of the lap?
The first sector through turns one, two and three is tricky and you need to treat them as one corner. A mistake in one or two will hurt you through three and cost your laptime. It feels great when you get them just right. Also, the final sector is quite technical: it’s slow and twisty, especially the last chicane and it’s easy to drop time at the end of the lap.
How are you feeling about the 2012 season after four races?
I feel very comfortable in the team and I’m enjoying the season. A few of the races haven't worked out for me, but I’m looking forward not backwards and determined to get some great results for the team. I’m working well with my car crew, we are pushing hard and we will try our best to get back in the points this weekend.