Paul di Resta had to sit out Free Practice 2 in China after a fuel pressure problem in his VJM04 this afternoon, although team-mate Adrian Sutil provided some good news for Force India after finishing the day as the seventh fastest driver.
Sutil sat on the morning session, allowing test and reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg to take part instead. His first laps of the year at Shanghai came this afternoon, when he completed 25 laps.
“The first session was really good; everybody worked well today and I am really happy and could concentrate on the normal Friday things like improving my car, set-up wise,” Sutil said. “We were not that far off straight away and after the first couple of laps I felt very confident in the car.
“With a hard set of tyres the car the balance was fine and feeling wise there was much more stability this weekend, so our upgrade might have helped. The soft tyre worked without problems. The long run seemed to be quite good so yes, another one like this tomorrow and I’ll be happy!”
Obviously Paul di Resta did not share Sutil’s positive mood after a frustrating afternoon sat on the pit wall, rather than in the cockpit of his car. He completed 18 laps this morning, but the Scot feels that the lack of running this afternoon puts him at a disadvantage for the rest of the weekend:
“We got a little bit of an idea of where the car was in FP1, but obviously its crucial to try and take part in FP2,” he said. “I think that I am a little more disadvantaged than I have been at any other grand prix now because effectively I have lost three sets of tyres and the important part where you try to do a bit of qualy and race simulation. The guys are working hard, so hopefully we can catch up on some lost ground tomorrow morning.”
Chief engineering director Dominic Harlow explained what Force India were focusing on today, and explained the problems on di Resta’s car:
“During the morning’s session Paul was evaluating the aero update brought for this event, which appears to be behaving as expected,” he said. “Nico was driving the VJM4-04 today and during a busy morning he completed a very useful programme.
“Paul had some KERS problems and the circuit was dusty to start, but otherwise it was a normal start to the weekend. Just before the start of FP2 however, we found a fuel pressure problem with Paul’s car, and despite the team’s best efforts to resolve it we were unable to get the car back on track in the time available. The cars are increasingly complex now with the extra systems on board, and the work involved to complete the job was too much. It was frustrating, but the issue is now eliminated and we will make up for the lost track time as best possible in the remaining practice sessions.
“Adrian was in the car for FP2 and completed a good programme where the engineers worked hard and improved the balance of the car as well as collecting useful data. We hope we can turn these steps into a competitive qualifying performance tomorrow.”