Bahrain GP: Force India preview

Just one week after the dramatic Chinese Grand Prix, in which Adrian Sutil so nearly scored Force India's first points, the team will be back in action for the fourth event of the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship season, the Bahrain Grand...

Just one week after the dramatic Chinese Grand Prix, in which Adrian Sutil so nearly scored Force India's first points, the team will be back in action for the fourth event of the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship season, the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The kingdom of Bahrain, located in the heart of the Persian Gulf, broke new ground when it became the first-ever Middle Eastern country to host a round of the championship in 2004.

The race is held at the Sakhir International Circuit in the desert outside the capital Manama. The 5.412km Hermann Tilke-designed facility follows the contours of the rolling sand dunes, out into the desert. The circuit's long straights mean this is a circuit where engine performance is especially important and it has one of the highest wide open throttle times per lap of almost anywhere else in the championship except Monza. After all these long straights braking down into the slower corners gives a high wear rate for brakes - possibly the highest of the year.

The race is held in the Bahraini springtime and temperatures normally average 30 C. The chance of rain is however incredibly slim - there is an average one day of rain in this region in April. Statistically, this makes it the driest race of the year.

More information and data on the Bahrain Grand Prix plus a lap of the track with Adrian Sutil can be found in the attached pdf document.

Team Q&A

Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal

The last round of the championship in China saw a strong performance for the team. Has this boosted confidence?

I think the team's performance in China was very encouraging. We functioned well as a unit, made the correct calls from the pit wall and showed again that when the conditions allow we can be competitive. Both Adrian and Giancarlo drove phenomenal races and really did the team proud. We know we still have work to do and putting in these performances in every race is still a distant goal, but I feel confident there are good foundations now. It's a boost for everyone not to lose hope as we can still surprise.

Are there some new developments coming through this race?

We are planning to introduce a significant aerodynamic upgrade for the Bahrain Grand Prix, including a new floor and an interim diffuser. Amongst other items, we also plan to use new auxiliary wings on the front wing and reprofiled sidepods to incorporate the amended rear end. We have been planning this upgrade since the debut of the VJM02 as part of our scheduled aerodynamic cycle and it will represent a good step forward for the team. Although we nevertheless expect other teams to have moved forward as well, we hope this will keep us racing with the rest of the field.

And what are the expectations for Bahrain?

As usual, we know points are going to be very difficult to achieve and we should not set this as a goal for Bahrain. Yes, Adrian had a very strong race in China and very nearly achieved our ultimate goal far earlier than anyone could have expected, but we should not look on the Chinese Grand Prix as indicative of our general form. Instead, we need to focus once more on reliability and consistency and look to be there if circumstances allow.

Driver Q&A

Adrian Sutil (car 20, VJM02/03)

You had a fantastic race out in China. What are your thoughts on the race now, three days on?

The team should be proud of the race we had and the performance we showed in China. Of course I am disappointed we didn't get the ultimate result, but you have to get over it as there is always the next race. For sure we deserved the points, but we're not giving up as there are always other chances. We've refocussed and are now looking forward to Bahrain, which is a race I enjoy -- there's something very different about racing in the desert.

And what are your goals for the next round of the championship in Bahrain?

The goals for Bahrain are really going to be the same as for China. For sure I want to finish the job, but I think getting points here will be very difficult. I want to keep the reliability record we have shown so far this year -- it's my best start to a season since I came into F1 in 2007 and I want to maintain this finish rate.

What are your thoughts on the developments coming through for this race?

The new parts we have coming through for this race should keep us close to the others and I hope we will be able to have a good, competitive race, but we need to focus on our own performance and try to improve as much as possible so when we get to Europe we can really be fighting.

Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21, VJM02/01)

How would you review the first three races?

Mechanically the VJM02 is good. It feels quite balanced and consistent and is a big improvement from last year. We're working well with the new team partners, McLaren and Mercedes, and I think we have a lot we can be positive about. We know where we need to improve: we are missing a lot of downforce and it shows, but now we have started to introduce new upgrades I am hopeful we can start to fix this problem.

What are your aims for Bahrain?

I feel quite positive about Bahrain. We have some new parts coming through from the factory and I hope they will be an improvement in overall pace. We've still got some way to go to be able to race for points, but at least this will keep us competitive. As with China, we've got to focus on getting to the end and seeing where we are.

-credit: force inida

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