11 May 2010 - After another points scoring finish in the Spanish Grand Prix, the Force India F1 Team is now eagerly anticipating the Monaco Grand Prix, which will take place just one week after the exciting Catalan round. Adrian Sutil and Tonio ...
11 May 2010 - After another points scoring finish in the Spanish Grand Prix, the Force India F1 Team is now eagerly anticipating the Monaco Grand Prix, which will take place just one week after the exciting Catalan round. Adrian Sutil and Tonio Liuzzi both have strong records around the Principality, with Adrian coming close to scoring Force India's first championship points in 2008 when he was running in fourth position in the closing stages of the race. In 2007, he also topped FP3 timesheets. Tonio meanwhile has started the race three times and qualified in the top 13 on all occasions. His best finish was 10th in 2006. In the 2004 F3000 race, he also started from pole and won the race.
On this occasion both race drivers will participate in free practice one due to the challenging layout of the circuit that demands the most precise set-up of the year. Paul di Resta will therefore sit out the session but will be attending in his test and reserve driver role.
Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal
Adrian went from 11th on the grid to seventh at the flag in Spain. Was that an encouraging result for you?
I'm very, very pleased, especially considering where Adrian started the race from. I think he once again showed that he has got a lot of talent and has matured a lot. He got a great start and drove with a very cool head throughout the race. I could imagine what was going through his mind with Robert Kubica in hot pursuit for almost 40 laps! He never made a mistake and never yielded. I'm really proud that we scored another valuable six points. It's very satisfying to be just behind the top four teams as well. One day we'll get amongst them! But I think that given the relatively short time that the team has been running as Force India, we're doing all right. What's happening now is we're doing exactly what we said we would do.
Were you disappointed for Tonio, who had a frustrating afternoon?
He had a tough weekend, things didn't go his way from Friday onwards, and then in the race he came in early as he had some problems with his tyres and lost some time in the pit stop as he couldn't get cleanly away and then he stopped on the final lap. Of course I was disappointed that both cars didn't cross the finish line, but other than that we've got every reason to be pleased.
How much are you looking forward to next weekend?
Very clearly we're strong in some areas and on a track like Monaco, which requires a lot of downforce, I think our car will perform well. We have a little additional downforce package for Monaco, and both drivers are very much looking forward to it. Both have consistently done well there, so I'm also looking forward to being well into the points.
In recent years Adrian has impressed there with a car that had been much further down the grid in earlier races. What do you think the team can do this time, with a much stronger starting point?
That is what is so encouraging. Adrian certainly feels good. I've never in the last three years seen Adrian be so happy and excited, and have such confidence. Tonio also takes confidence there knowing he has had some good results and has a good car underneath him. We're very optimistic.
Adrian Sutil (car 14, VJM03/03)
You finished seventh in Spain, behind only cars from the 'big four' teams. How did the race go for you?
Overall it was a very positive race weekend. I made a great start and had a good first lap. I was in P8 straight away. It looked quite easy, but it wasn't! I had a lot of pressure over 40 laps from Robert Kubica. He was behind all the time and pushing me around the circuit all the way. I would push sometimes, and make a little gap, and then he would come back again. There wasn't any time to relax as we had very similar lap times and a very similar performance throughout the race. I'm glad I was able to stay in front of him and could defend my position. We're close to Renault, and I think it's a great achievement to beat them in the race. Then I was lucky with two laps to go when Lewis [Hamilton] went off, and I gained another position. P7 really is the maximum from the weekend for us and I'm very happy to get some more points on the board.
Lots of teams brought new parts to Spain, but Force India had a relatively modest package and still made progress. Is there more in the pipeline?
We brought some aero and mechanical parts to Spain and it was a reasonable step, but we've had bigger steps before. For Monaco we have another package, and that should help us a lot. I can't wait to get there: I like the circuit, and I've kind of had good results there. Kind of, I'm saying! I remember in 2008 with the accident with Kimi being very close to a great finish, but it didn't happen. This year is a very different situation. I have a good car, and it doesn't matter which weather is around. If we have a good qualifying there, which is very important, a couple of points are possible there, or even more.
As you say you have a much stronger starting point than the last few years, when you were still able to make an impression. Can you aim to qualify and finish in the top six, for example?
I think in Monaco, as always, everything is possible. You never know what will happen. The race is long, and a lot of mistakes can be made. You just need to stay concentrated and focussed all the way through, and then you can have a good result. That's our main goal. I think for us every circuit - it doesn't matter where - we want to score points. And that's what I want.
You suggested you don't need rain - but it won't hurt you, will it?
No it's not going to hurt me. I like it, especially there. I know how to drive around a street circuit in the wet, although it's tricky. You need a little bit of luck to make it all right, and 2008 was one of those races when everything went right - our pit stop was at the right time when it dried out. It all counts towards getting a good result. I'm confident in our abilities as a team to make the right judgements.
Tonio Liuzzi (car 15, VJM03/04)
How was the Spanish Grand Prix weekend for you as a whole?
It was a really long weekend as we had some problems with the balance from the beginning of the weekend. On Friday and Saturday morning we had a couple of issues with the tyres and then the throttle and unfortunately I couldn't do the morning running before qualifying so I had to jump into qualifying a bit blind. Obviously it was not the best situation and it really hampered the starting position, which again affected how we could perform in the race. It's a shame as we were expecting a lot from this Grand Prix as we were pretty fast in Barcelona in the winter testing.
In the race you pitted early but then got caught into some traffic - was this very frustrating for you?
Starting from so far behind in the race it was always going to be pretty difficult to catch the field. I struggled a bit on the first stint with the soft tyres as I was suffering a lot with snap understeer and oversteer as the car was not ideal after qualifying and due to the parc ferme rules you cannot modify it anymore. In the end part of the race we set some pretty good lap times, so we can be happy about this aspect. I could have finished in 13th but we had an issue at the end that stopped us - we have to look into this now. It was still a good weekend for the team though as Adrian finished in the points so the motivation is still high.
Looking forward to Monaco, it will be your 50th race start - what are your feelings on this?
I never counted, but it's good to know! It's good to know I have been in this business for quite a while and reaching 50 races is an achievement, and it feels particularly nice to be able to do this in Monaco. I love the track, it's a great race and we always have some highlights there. I really want to be back in the points to celebrate my 50th race.
Your last race was in 2007 and the track is pretty unique on the calendar - will you have to relearn it at all?
I won't have to relearn the track as I have quite a bit of experience there from F3000 and then the three years I did in F1, but for sure the cars have changed a lot since I was last there and you need to get used to the handling on this type of high downforce, twisty circuit. Qualifying is for sure going to be tough here with the 24 cars out on Q1 so we will have to really work hard to optimise this, but the race is always a real thrill for any driver. The aim is to do the maximum and get back into the points.
Paul di Resta, test and reserve driver
You were back in the car for FP1 in Spain - how did you feel that session went?
It was definitely better than at the other Grands Prix as it was fourth time I had been in the car. It was another new track for me and again it was about learning the layout. I am feeling more comfortable in the environment and feel I now fully understand the goals we set ourselves and various situations we need to run through in these sessions. On the whole we managed to achieve the targets we set ourselves and the lap times I set were definitely an improvement on where we have been in the past couple of Grands Prix. The more and more I get to know the team, the more I see it's a great environment and their ambitions are high and their work rate is very professional. Obviously I am feeling more comfortable in my own role in the situation and hopefully we can just build that relationship stronger and stronger.
It seems that every track you visit is a new one for you - how do you prepare for this?
The team gives me the necessary simulator time and data to help me as best as possible and they certainly put a good programme on for coming to Spain but equally it's never completely like the real thing. Fortunately the weather held off for the first session so I was able to do some good running, particularly as the tyres lasted reasonably well. We didn't do too many timed laps but the laps we did were all productive. Certainly when I get back into the car in Turkey I can go that one step more.
What else do you do over a race weekend? Do you have other commitments over the weekend outside of the sessions?
These weekends are busy in their own right as I attend meetings and briefings, plus I have a schedule of PR commitments. Equally over the weekend when I'm not driving I have to keep my fitness up so I'm training in the evenings, so should I have to stand in for any reason, I am at a level of fitness that is high enough and keeps me in the right frame of mind.
The next race is Monaco and although you're not driving this time out, it must be a good feeling to be there as part of a team?
I'm not driving but it's going to be great, I am really looking forward to it. I have been there as a support race in Formula 3 going back six years but it will be nice to be there as part of an Formula 1 team, which is the main theme of the event! I am there for a week so I am sure I will enjoy the whole atmosphere, but equally you have to be very professional and I need to take as much information out of the weekend as possible about the track, the settings and so on, so even when I'm sitting on the sidelines I'm going to be working hard.
-source: force india