European GP: Force India preview

The FIA Formula One World Championship returns to action this weekend with the 11th round of the series, the European Grand Prix, held in the vibrant Spanish city of Valencia. The event will be the first race in four weeks and will kick-start a ...

The FIA Formula One World Championship returns to action this weekend with the 11th round of the series, the European Grand Prix, held in the vibrant Spanish city of Valencia. The event will be the first race in four weeks and will kick-start a tough final half of the year, which includes both a European and overseas' double header and four flyaway races.

The Force India Formula One Team goes to this next event in a buoyant mood following a strong finish to the first part of the season and confident in the new aero upgrades that will be introduced in Valencia.

Team Q&A Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal Force India had a strong end to the first part of the season. What have you got planned to sustain this momentum to the end of the year? We have a major aerodynamic upgrade coming for Valencia, which includes a new floor, bargeboard area and front wing. We're looking forward to it as we had a very successful aero test with Tonio in the week before the summer shutdown. With this knowledge I hope we're able to maintain, if not improve, our relative position on track. F1 is more competitive than ever now so we need to keep these upgrades coming through and staying ahead of the others, who no doubt will be improving as well.

What will your aims be for this second part of the season? e should Wdefinitely be Q2, maybe even the top of Q2 in Valencia and beyond. I'm Wquite optimistic as we're also working on more upgrades for the final Wraces of the season so fingers crossed we should be able to maintain Wour momentum. There's more to come for Singapore as well in the latter Wpart of the year so if we continue on our trajectory now we're looking Wquite good, on target with the goals we set at the start of the year.

Driver Q&A Adrian Sutil (car 20, VJM02/01) You've just had a four week break from racing. What did you do during this time off? I've taken some time off to relax and train for the second part of the year, which is going to be pretty busy for us with a lot of races in a short amount of time and lots of travelling. I went to Bali to spend some time with my family, then returned to Switzerland to get ready for the European Grand Prix. I feel very refreshed now and I am looking forward to getting going again. As nice as it is to have four weeks off, I really want to get back in the car. We were going well before the break and I can't wait to get started again.

Valencia is another street circuit, and you've excelled on these in the past. What are your thoughts going into this race? To be honest, Valencia isn't one of my favourites. It's a street circuit but it doesn't feel like it as the roads are so wide and it's really just fast straights into a hairpin, accelerate out and then another hairpin so you don't get the adrenaline you would at Monaco. This year it could be quite good for us though as we have a big new upgrade. Every upgrade we've introduced so far this year has really made a difference so I have a lot of confidence that this will move us forward as well. The car is getting better and better to drive and with another upgrade I hope we will really be in the midfield now and in the hunt for points.

Looking forward, what are your aims for the rest of the season? We have this new upgrade that we hope will cement our Q2 positions and from there we should be regular midfield contenders. I'm looking to be reliable and avoid any mistakes and let's see where we go from there. We have some more parts coming for the flyaway races as well so it should be a very strong end to the season.

Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21, VJM02/04) Giancarlo, what did you do during the mid-season break? I had a fantastic break with my family. There's a lot of travel in the second part of the year so it was nice to spend some good time with them while my kids were on holiday. We took my boat over to Sardinia and spent some time there and also went down to Corsica. I also did some training and preparation for the end of the year. We're looking good as a team now so I want to be ready for every opportunity.

What are your thoughts on Valencia? The Hungarian Grand Prix was quite a tough race but I was able to have a good, quick middle stint and fight with Kubica and Barrichello, so I hope I will be able to do the same, if not more, in Valencia. Last year it was quite a good race for me, one of my best, as we were genuinely fighting for positions. I quite like the track. For sure it's not the most challenging but if you are fighting for position there are some chances to overtake, which has got to be a positive. We also have a new upgrade for this race, the same step as we had in Silverstone, so I hope we can have a good race and score some points.

And what will your aims be for the rest of the season? To keep where we are and score some points. There are some good opportunities coming up in the second part of the year and some tracks I really like and have gone well on. There's my home race in Monza, Singapore and Suzuka, which have also been good races for us, and then Interlagos, where I got my first win in F1. There's a lot of reasons to look forward to this next part of the year.

Force India European GP points of note:

After the Hungarian Grand Prix the team and trucks returned to the UK. From 3 - 16 August the factory then closed and all production, design and car build stopped. The VJM02 cars were effectively rebuilt and by 2 August to comply with the strict guidelines of the shutdown. Only truckies were allowed in at the very end of the shutdown to load the trucks and depart for Valencia.

The team will be debuting a major new aero upgrade package this weekend, including modifications to the the front wing, and changes to the bargeboard area, and the front of the floor and sidepods.

Tonio Liuzzi conducted the team's second aero test of the year on 30 July. The Italian tested the new aero upgrades at Kemble airfield, UK. The test was very productive, run in generally fine weather conditions, with the Italian covering 268km in total.

The team's finishing record so far has been very strong. Giancarlo has had one retirement while Adrian has had two, meaning Force India has finished 85% of the races so far this season.

-credit: fi

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