Force India are happy with their progress in pre-season testing, and are hoping for consistent points finishes in 2010.
Speaking ahead of this Sunday’s opening race in Bahrain, Adrian Sutil thinks that the team are in a good position to build on their successes towards the end of last season. “The key point was last year at the beginning of the season we had a good baseline car but not enough downforce and we knew that it was all a little late, but then we improved over the season and the second half was very successful and sometimes we even had a winning car for certain races.
“Really with that car we went into the winter and developed it as best as possible, again with a few new rule changes, but we were on a very good level already and now we just improved, mainly on downforce. We have no other difficulties in the team so very consistent in everything, all the business all round, and that I think it’s the key to improve your car and to be ready for the first races.”
Sutil’s teammate Tonio Liuzzi is making positive noises about his prospects for the coming season. “In my five years of F1 this is definitely the best car I’ve driven, It’s the most balanced, and knowing that has made me feel so much stronger and confident. Of course you can never know exactly where you are compared to the others but we can go to Bahrain feeling optimistic and positive.”
Technical director Mark Smith is downplaying the team’s expectations slightly, but is confident that Force India have a reliable car which will gain in pace as the season continues. “In summary we’ve learnt we have a well-balanced, stable car with no traits limiting it, we just need to keep adding performance as best we can..I would say we are in a mid-grid position and from that position we can seek to go forward and capitalise within the race, hopefully finishing in the points as often as we can.”
Team manager Andy Stevenson is also pleased with the pre-season testing. “We are pleased with our preparation: you are always looking to see where you are compared to your competitors, but we went into pre-season testing with a certain aim where we had goals we wanted to achieve and we reached them with the exact mileage we were looking to do, and we got the times we had predicted.
“Our preparation has gone very, very well. Until you get to Bahrain it’s always difficult to know where you stand compared to others but we are going there in the best position we’ve been in for a long, long time.”
He was also thinks that the drivers have improved since last year. “The drivers are very happy and both have worked really hard over the winter. I’ve never seen two drivers look as fit as they do physically, they are both mentally prepared for it. They learnt a lot from last year, both Tonio and Adrian, as we had a car that was towards the front of the field at the end of the year… it was a new experience for them. They’ve taken it away over the winter, they’ve thought about it, learnt from it and we’ve analysed their performances as well and we are starting in a position that I would consider a lot stronger from the one in which we finished [last year].”