The Force India Formula One Team now heads east for round five of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship, the Turkish Grand Prix, held at the Istanbul Park circuit from 9 - 11 May. Fresh from its first top 10 finish at the last event in ...
The Force India Formula One Team now heads east for round five of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship, the Turkish Grand Prix, held at the Istanbul Park circuit from 9 - 11 May.
Fresh from its first top 10 finish at the last event in Spain, the team has high hopes of sustaining this momentum for the remainder of the season.
Dr. Vijay Mallya, chairman and managing director
'Nothing is a better feeling at this stage in the season than a top 10 result. We've been in the sport for five months, and it's a feeling that makes us believe in ourselves and confirm that we're making progress. We shouldn't underestimate this achievement - this team was getting better all the time last year, however regular top 12 finishes were something of a rarity. I hope this year we can make it a permanent trend.
'To do so we need to look at our qualifying so we start higher up and can take full advantage of the car's potential now. Once more in Spain we showed well in practice but seemed to lose it in qualifying, but I have every confidence that we'll isolate the reason and move on.
'Again, Giancarlo had a very strong race in Spain and completely vindicated our decision to take him on at the start of the year. On a faster track in Istanbul that should suit us more, I think there is more to come too. For Adrian, he was very unfortunate, but I am sure that his luck will turn, as luck does. He's got a lot of talent, he's quick, and I think he can do a good job for us. What we have to remember is that Giancarlo is approaching his 200th Grand Prix, Adrian has competed in just over 20, that's a tenth of the number of his team mate. Together however I think we have a very strong pairing and are exactly where we should be at this stage in the season.'
Colin Kolles, team principal
'Unfortunately we were struggling in qualifying in Barcelona where we could not replicate the free practice pace and performance.The race was however another step forward, with Giancarlo driving the car to its absolute limit and giving the Force India team our best result so far.
'As we showed, we are getting closer to the points and this now has to be our main target. We hope that both drivers will finish the race and show that the team is moving forward.'
Mike Gascoyne, chief technical officer
'Turkey is an exciting track, with turn eight in particular a very challenging high speed corner. The VJM01 is very good in high speed turns - we performed very well for example in sector one in Barcelona, the quickest part of the track, so I think the car will also go well in Istanbul. Traditionally we have has some success in Turkey and we know the car is reliable so we should look to have a good weekend.
'We have no specific updates on the car and will be using basically the same spec car we raced in Barcelona as we are concentrating on development for Monaco and Canada, both of which we have specific packages for.
'One item to emerge in Barcelona was that the free practice and race form was relatively good, but we dropped a long way off in qualifying. It was clear that on Saturday, fuel corrected, we couldn't get anywhere near the times we were able to do on Friday, even though the track was clearly much quicker. We dropped the ball and we have to make sure we don't do that in Turkey, but we have looked at the reasons and have identified some areas we can improve.
'I don't see any reason why the qualifying form we showed in the first three races where we were very close to getting into Q2 cannot be replicated in Istanbul. That has to be the aim now, but overall we need to get two cars to the finish with two strong race performances. We've shown with our finishes with Giancarlo that we can pick up points if they're available and stay with the other runners. We have to make sure we do that in Turkey too.'
Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21, VJM01/05)
'We are doing better than we expected at the moment, as apart from Australia, we have finished every race in the top 12. We are still a young team but everyone is getting more confident with every race and getting in the top 10 in Spain was our best finishing position of the year so far.
'The car balance was good and our second stint in the race was particularly encouraging. We need to improve in qualifying now as we had some problems with reduced grip and had to do two flying laps, which isn't ideal. We have spent a lot of time analysing why the performance drops from practice to qualifying and I am hopeful we will not have the same problems again in Turkey. Of course at the moment the field is so close that one tenth of a second can mean the difference between Q2 and just missing out, so we have to make sure we are completely on top of the game.
'I enjoy Istanbul and have had some good results there, including a 4th in 2005. It's a very challenging track with some nice high-speed sections that are difficult to get right. It is going to be a tough race but once again we need to keep pushing. The car is very reliable and, if we get qualifying right, we could be up there again in the top 10 and ready to take advantage and pick up points if anything happens in front.'
Adrian Sutil (car 20, VJM01/02)
'The goal for the Turkish Grand Prix has got to be to get a strong finish and to be able to say we had a good weekend at the end of the event, that is, we had a good race, a good qualifying - I want the complete package.
'There have been problems in the races until now, with a couple of mechanical failures and accidents. I said in Barcelona that this is where the season should start, and from the performance side I was very happy as I was where I really should be, but then I had some bad luck again at the start.
'Last year Turkey was an OK race but I had to retire on the last lap. It was a bit frustrating as it had been a good race until that point. It is a great track with good corners and now this year we go a little bit earlier to the race so it should not be as big a problem with the heat. I look forward to this race and hopefully it will go without any problems. I think the rest of the season should be much better than it has been and hopefully it really starts in Turkey now.'
Turkish Grand Prix information
The Turkish Grand Prix, held at the 14-turn 5.338km Istanbul Park Circuit, was introduced to the FIA Formula One World Championship calendar in 2005. Designed by circuit constructor Herman Tilke, the track stands on the Asian side of the Bosphorus and is the furthest point of the season that the team's trucks will travel this year.
The circuit will be the first anti-clockwise track of the year and is a thrilling combination of undulating straights, dramatic gradient changes, where over the course of a lap elevation varies by almost 46 metres, and long sweeping bends. It's popular with teams and in particular drivers relish the challenging turn eight, basically four corners taken on the same line at around 250kph, and the two long straights where cars can reach up to 330kph.
Istanbul Park is a medium downforce track that demands high-speed efficiency and a well-balanced car to maximise speed in the slower sections. Bridgestone will be bringing the medium and hard tyre compounds to the race as tyre wear can be high in Turkey's searing temperatures. Although the race will be held in spring this year, rather than the heat of the August summer as in previous seasons, hot weather and low humidity is still expected.
-credit: force india