Hungarian GP: Force India preview

The Hungarian Grand Prix will be the tenth round of the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship and is held at the tight, twisty Hungaroring on the outskirts of Budapest from 24 -- 26 July. Following a competitive weekend performance in Germany...

The Hungarian Grand Prix will be the tenth round of the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship and is held at the tight, twisty Hungaroring on the outskirts of Budapest from 24 -- 26 July.

Following a competitive weekend performance in Germany where it achieved its highest-ever qualifying position and finished within sight of the points, the Force India Formula One Team heads to Hungary keen to finally open its scorecard.

Team Q&A

Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal

In Germany the team had a very encouraging weekend. What are your views on this?

I am confident that Germany was not just a one-hit wonder for us. We always said the first few races would be compromised by the late signing of the McLaren and Mercedes deal but since then we've been introducing new upgrades and each one has been a step forward. We had hoped that this progress would be reflected in Silverstone, but due to events on track, we couldn't show the full potential. In Germany this is what you saw. Over the course of the season so far we've calculated we've improved by something like 1.7seconds, which I don't think any other team has done. It's been done by solid hard work and not just getting lucky.

And this time the weather conditions had nothing to do with it.

No, because everyone else had the same opportunities to make those calls. Adrian had a superb qualifying and, as we saw in Q3, even on a very heavy fuel load, he was one of the quicker cars. In the dry race both Giancarlo and Adrian were able to lap quickly and keep pace at various times with the Ferraris, Renaults and McLarens so we're not just competitive in the wet, we're genuinely on the pace now.

How disappointed were you to lose the points that looked so certain in the first part of the race?

In that split second when Kimi and Adrian came together of course the whole team was disappointed and of course those memories of Monaco 2008 came forward. All the same I don't think we can be downhearted about the weekend performance and dwell too much on that point. We qualified in the top ten, we raced in the top five and we went some way to shirking off this reputation of being the backmarkers who only get seen while being lapped.

Can you do the same in Hungary?

I genuinely think that we are Q2 contenders for the rest of the season, and with Hungary being a circuit where qualifying is so crucial, we're in with a shot of a good finish. We're so close to points we can almost touch them. It has to be soon.

Driver Q&A

Adrian Sutil (car 20, VJM02/01)

You had a very promising weekend in Germany. What are your views on this now, one week on?

From free practice on we could do some good work and could see the car was performing well. We had a really good qualifying, the best performance so far this year, and the only disappointing point was this incident in the race. The pace was good, particularly on the first stint as I was really in the front where the action was, so it was a different type of racing experience. You have to push all the time and it's so close that you need to fight for the positions. That's one way of seeing the crash: if we hadn't pushed we would have lost our position straight away. But I am fine with it now, I've looked at the footage and learnt from it, so let's move on.

What are your thoughts on the Hungaroring?

It's a good track, one of the smaller circuits, with a lot of corners so in some respects it's a bit like a kart track. It is actually challenging as each of the corners are different, some 180 degrees and some long, some in third gear. It's very bumpy in places, which also makes it a bit more difficult to drive, but overall there's a good flow to it.

What will the aims be in Hungary?

Our goal has to be in Q2 again and then I would say get as close as we can to the top 10. We want to stay in the midfield where we are right now. We are always waiting for the points now and we are nearly there. This has to be the goal for the season and the few last races.

Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21, VJM02/04)

Giancarlo, you finished the German Grand Prix three seconds from the points again. This was obviously a good race for you?

Germany was obviously very positive for the whole team. Yet again we raced very well and got a good finish, coming from 18th to just outside the points. But when you look at the last two races we're really improving -- I came from 16th to 10th in Silverstone and then moved up another seven positions in Germany, not because of the weather but because the team is now genuinely competitive.

What are your feelings about the Hungaroring?

I feel pretty confident as we're just getting better and better. We can see our pace is much more competitive and we are really racing. I enjoy driving the car and I'm looking forward to this next race. As our qualifying pace has really made a step forward and the Hungaroring is all about where you start and the strategy so I'm very positive of a good finish.

Force India Hungarian GP points of note:

Adrian's German Grand Prix qualifying position was Force India's best-ever starting slot. The company's previous highest qualifying came under the Jordan regime in Hungary 2002 when Giancarlo Fisichella qualified in fifth.

After the Hungarian Grand Prix the team and trucks will return to the UK. From 3 -- 16 August the factory will then be closed in line with FOTA's guidelines to cut costs. All production, design and build will cease and, aside from security and maintenance, the factory will be shut.

In Hungary the team will have a couple of new items on the car, inclduing some tweaks on the front wing and brake ducts and some minor changes on the mechanical side. Apart from that there are a couple of measures to address the likely cooling demands of Hungaroring.

Giancarlo Fisichella has raced at the Hungaroring 12 times, with a best result of sixth coming in 2002 with Jordan. Adrian has raced there twice in his F1 career but has only seen the finish once -- in 2007 when he came home in 17th.

Hungarian Grand Prix information

The Hungaroring is set in the countryside just outside the vibrant Hungarian capital, Budapest. It first made its F1 debut in 1986 - at the time, a pioneering venture into Eastern Europe, which was then under Communist rule.

Much has changed in the city since that first edition, as has the track. Since its calendar debut, the circuit has been extended and repeatedly modified, yet its character has still remained: a high downforce, low-speed, twisty, undulating ride through a dusty landscape. With its tight corners and short straights, it ranks next to Monaco as the toughest place to overtake. Sand from these outlying lands often blows onto the track, making grip levels low and any off-line excursion potentially risky.

This, combined with the event taking place in the height of summer, makes it one of the toughest tracks of the year for drivers and teams.

-credit: force india

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Adrian Sutil
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , McLaren , Force India , Jordan