24 August 2010 - After a four week break the FIA Formula One World Championship returns to action with the drivers' favourite Belgian Grand Prix. Held at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in the heart of the Ardennes forest to the south east of the ...
24 August 2010 - After a four week break the FIA Formula One World Championship returns to action with the drivers' favourite Belgian Grand Prix. Held at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in the heart of the Ardennes forest to the south east of the country, the race is famed for its awesome combination of corners, unpredictable racing, weather and wheel to wheel action that has yielded some classic races.
The 2009 edition of the race was the perfect illustration of all these factors and holds a special place in the memories, and record books, for Force India. Going into the event that year, the team had made solid progress but had only qualified in the top ten once and had not yet finished in the points. However it went away from Spa with its first-ever F1 world championship points, pole position and podium finish when Giancarlo Fisichella put together an outstanding lap to put the VJM02 on the front row and then finish less than a second from the top step of the rostrum in the race.
The team now goes to this 2010 event with optimism, fresh from its summer break with new developments and a great chance of further increasing its points total for this season.
Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal
Everyone in the team is looking forward to this second part of the season. We had a couple of weeks off over the shutdown period and we've all come back refreshed, strong and optimistic. We are currently sixth in the championship and we've got to make sure that we hang on to it by optimising everything we can. And Spa is a great track to start on a roll.
We have a good car in low downforce trim, which counts at a track like Spa and Monza. We also have a new rear wing package to use this race in conjunction with the F-duct, which is working very well. Additionally we will be using the new blown floor on both cars on Friday. We tried it in Hungary, and we hope to actually race it in Spa if the information we gather shows as much of an improvement as it did there.
All the same, we're not pinning all our hopes on Spa and Monza. It's going to be tough to replicate the kind of form we showed in Spa last year: everybody's improved, the competition is fierce and also very even in the midfield - the gaps between teams is so small now. We have also shown that we have been regularly able to score points on virtually all the tracks, not just the low downforce ones - apart from the last two races, which were unlucky in various regards, we've been in the points at a variety of track configurations.
We also still have some updates coming for the rest of the season so it's going to be pushing all the way, right through to Abu Dhabi. We've got the opportunity to achieve our best finish in the championship in many years and it's not something I'm going to let go lightly.
Adrian Sutil (car 14, VJM03/03)
It's been a busy time despite the lack of racing - I spent a few days in Goa, India, filming and doing some PR work and then went back home to Switzerland for some training in the mountains. After that it was time for a couple of days holiday, finally! I've come back feeling stronger and motivated and Spa is a great track to get going again.
It's what I call a 'nature' track - through the forests and really follows the lines and contours of the hills. For me, it's is the best circuit on the calendar as it has some of the most spectacular corners of the year, such as the awesome climb through Eau Rouge. There's really nowhere else like it to get your adrenaline going and with the added challenge of changeable weather, we see some great, exciting racing.
Of course last year the team had a dream result at Spa, with the pole and then the podium, so we'll go back there with confidence knowing that this has been historically a track we've performed very well on. But this is 2010 and we have to look at what we are doing now rather than to the past. I'm pretty confident that we've got a car that will still suit the track very well. We've still got a very strong straightline speed advantage and the F-duct makes us quickest through the speed traps at most circuits we go to - which will help us on the long straights in Belgium.
We will also test our new blown diffuser again on Friday here. It worked well in Hungary and gave an improvement over the normal floor so we'll work through more development in practice and, if it performs as well as we hope, we'll use it in the race.
I can't wait to get back out there racing now - I love the track, I know we can perform in any weather conditions and we've got new developments. I really want to be back in the points again in Belgium and start the second part of the season as we mean to go on.
Tonio Liuzzi (car 15, VJM03/01)
After the back-to-back grands prix in Germany and Hungary, it was really nice to have a break. I went to one of my favourite holiday places - Mykonos in Greece - and had a few days chilling out, resting and recharging. I also spent a lot of time in the gym making sure I am physically ready for the next phase of the season. There's a lot of travelling, some tough races and, of course, some big fights to come. We're sixth in the championship right now but holding onto it won't be easy so we have to be on top form at each and every track we go to.
So now we go to Spa-Francorchamps, probably my favourite track of the year as it is a mixture of adrenaline and technique. It has a great mix of really high-speed and technical corners and there is nowhere else that gives you the same rush. The weather is always something we talk a lot about as well when we go there. Rain can come at any time and, as the track is so long, you can have some parts of the circuit wet and others dry. It certainly makes things exciting!
Obviously, we had a great race at the venue last year with Giancarlo Fisichella getting the pole and then finishing second in the race. At the time no one expected it from us, but after that everyone started to take notice and gave us credit for the work we were doing. I think we are still capable of a top position and certainly points this year. We will bring our blown diffuser in for further testing and I'll run it on Friday for the first time. Plus we will also have a low downforce package with a new rear wing for Spa and Monza so it will be very interesting to see how everything performs. We are still really confident of being back in business in the second half of the season.
Paul di Resta, test and reserve driver
Although there's not been an F1 event since Hungary I've been pretty busy with my DTM programme so there's not been much time for holidays. I've had two races, first at the Nurburgring and then at Zandvoort, where I picked up another podium to really get into the title fight.
I've also been continuing my schedule with Force India, working in the simulator with the engineers and trying to get as prepared for the Belgian Grand Prix as we can. Everyone is very pumped up to do well at this track knowing that the result last year was so good and the championship battle is so tight.
Unfortunately I'm not going to be in the car this time out as Spa is a pretty unique track. We've also got some work to do on the new blown floor and the low downforce package so it's natural we need to give the race drivers the additional time to properly evaluate. I'm happy with this - although it's always hard to sit out on such a great track - as it's a team effort and we've got a big fight on our hands to hold onto sixth in the championship. I'll get my chance in Monza, which I can't wait for.
-source: force india