It is with renewed confidence and motivation that the Force India Formula One Team will make the journey to Montreal, Canada, for the seventh event of the 18-round FIA Formula One World Championship. After a string of solid performances at the...
It is with renewed confidence and motivation that the Force India Formula One Team will make the journey to Montreal, Canada, for the seventh event of the 18-round FIA Formula One World Championship. After a string of solid performances at the start of the season, the team finally made its mark during a scintillating Monaco Grand Prix, when Adrian Sutil ran as high as fourth position in the closing stages of the race.
Although such a performance will be tough to replicate on the low downforce Gilles-Villeneuve circuit in Montreal, the pace demonstrated on the streets of the Principality has boosted the team. With Adrian's confidence high and Giancarlo Fisichella's impressive record in Canada, there is every reason to hope for a strong race in the first and only round of the championship this year in North America.
Dr. Vijay Mallya, chairman and managing director
I was very proud of Adrian, Giancarlo and the entire team's effort in Monaco. I was delighted with how the whole team pulled together over the weekend: on the pit wall, in the garage and back at the factory, and how the old team spirit was ignited.
Of course you all know the result. It was very disappointing and we had many messages of condolences from India and all over the world that we could not score our first points in just our sixth race as Force India. I very much appreciated the fact that people should take the time out to write to us as it showed firstly that we have been accepted, and secondly that we are being taken seriously for the hard work we put in.
What we need to do now is to show that we can do this kind of race in every event, not just if the exceptional circumstances allow. I am sure that, given this kind of confidence and motivation that is now surging through the team, other great performances will follow, but in Canada we have to do what we can: stay together, keep it together and focus on getting the best result possible.
Colin Kolles, team principal
Adrian drove a fantastic race in Monaco and it was very disappointing for him and the team that we could not have got the finish that we all felt we deserved.
The team were all frustrated with the result, but there are 12 races and therefore 12 chances left that we now need to concentrate on. Canada, like Monaco, could be a good race for us with all teams developing special aero and mechanical packages that will only be used in this one race. With safety car periods and rain also a possibility you could see some surprises too.
For Giancarlo the Monaco weekend was not quite as good, but Montreal is a track he particularly enjoys so I am sure he will come back at the next race. Adrian's confidence is now high, and I think he will carry this forward, but we need to focus on this weekend and not let the highs of Monaco cloud what we have to do here.
Mike Gascoyne, chief technical officer
Although at the time the Monaco result was gutting, it was a great boost for everyone at the track and at the factory that after so long at the back we were finally able to have a good race. I think it was a sign of how much we are improving as a team, and how we can make the right strategy calls and keep our heads.
We knew Monaco would be a good track for us, and it was for Adrian at least, better than we could have hoped for. I think he drove an excellent race and really did everything we asked. For Giancarlo, his 200th race was sadly not what he would have hoped for as he struggled with gearbox issues all weekend, which ultimately led to his retirement from the race. I'm confident that we've got to the bottom of these though and it won't happen again.
Montreal is, like Monaco, one of the tracks we will take a special aero package to as it is unique on the calendar with its combination of long straights going into tight hairpins. We tested this package in Paul Ricard three weeks ago and although the rain somewhat disrupted the overall day, we could gain some information that will help us in the initial stages of the weekend.
Both drivers like the track and Giancarlo in particular has had some good results there, so with the morale of the team high we should look to be running with the midfield again.
Montreal is probably the event I enjoy the most. I love the city and the circuit and I have always done well, with four podiums in four years from 1997 - 2000 and two fourth place finishes. Although I have never won it, I did lead the 2005 race before retiring with a hydraulic problem.
To do well, you need to have a well balanced car with a good aero compromise and you have to be gentle with the brakes, which is always a big challenge in Montreal. For this race we will have a new aero package that we tested in Paul Ricard three weeks ago. It felt good, and again my car was well balanced and the times were in line with our expectations.
We are now about a third of the way through the season and I think we are more or less where we expected to be. I still feel we could have scored points in Melbourne and Monaco, which was not a good weekend for me in my 200th race. It was also a big disappointment for Adrian, but even so I think there were some positives from that weekend. We made no mistakes as a team in terms of strategy and drivers' performance.
From here on in we need to wait for more improvements to come and continue to push, but I still think a midfield finish is possible in Canada, unless of course the weather gives us a big hand again, as it did in Monte Carlo!
Of course the ultimate result in Monaco was disappointing, but eventually I realised what we had achieved in Monaco was really special. We had the race under control and were running a strong fourth with many cars behind us - it's not everyday that happens, especially for us. My feelings after the race were very difficult to explain, I was frustrated and upset, but now it's really made me motivated to prove that Monaco was not just a one-off.
I said after Turkey that I just wanted to have a good weekend - a good practice, qualifying and then race, and we really nailed it in Monaco. It's really boosted my confidence knowing we can do it.
Montreal is a track I like a lot. Like Monaco, it is different to anywhere else we visit over the season, with long, fast straights going into deep hairpins that mean you really need to be precise. Last year it was not such a good result for the team, but with that experience I know what to avoid. The city is also fantastic, so overall I am really looking forward to going there.
Canadian Grand Prix information
The Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve is a street circuit set on the Ile Notre-Dame in the Saint Lawrence seaway. It's a spectacular venue, alongside the 1976 Olympic Games rowing basin, close to central Montreal, and set among lakes and parkland pavilions used in the 1967 Expo. 2008 will be the 40th Canadian Grand Prix and the 30th held in Montreal. The first Canadian Grand Prix took place in 1967 in Mosport, before Mont-Tremblant took over for two GPs. F1 moved to Montreal in 1978, where it has been held ever since.
The 4.361km track is a series of long straights running into slow first and second gear chicanes and hairpins, which make it the most testing circuit of the year for brakes. The track is also, because of the harsh Canadian winters, quite bumpy despite fairly regular maintenance and for the second consecutive race, there are concrete walls close by and mistakes can be very costly: the so-called 'World Champions' wall has ended many driver's laps within sight of the finish line as they exit the quick final chicane. For these reasons, the Canadian Grand Prix is quite often a race of attrition with accidents, engine problems and brake issues that often cause retirements.
As a medium to low downforce track, maximum speeds are relatively high, but with heavy braking into the hairpins, the minimum speed is relatively low and engineers will work towards a set up that's obviously biased towards stability under braking, but usually gives some understeer. Many teams also run specially designed aero packages for this race, although as grip improves over the weekend, they decrease the wing level even further, trimming it out for the maximum possible top end speed for the race.
Overtaking can be quite difficult, especially with the perilous rubber marbles - small chunks of rubber worn off the tyres over the race - lining the racing line. However with chances of rain and safety cars, we could be in for a race that's every bit as exciting as last weekend's Monaco Grand Prix.
-credit: force india