Force India are ‘delighted’ to have points on the board after the opening race in Bahrain but after an accident for Adrian Sutil on the first lap, the team feel they could have scored more than the two they earned from Tonio Liuzzi’s ninth place finish.
Liuzzi scored his first Formula 1 points since the 2007 Chinese Grand Prix, and the team’s first since last season’s Italian race, thanks to the new point systems, which now awards drivers finishing in the top ten.
Speaking after the race, Liuzzi was understandably happy about how the season opener had gone. “I’m really pleased. We achieved our target and scored some points, which is a great result for myself and for the team. It was a difficult race as with this amount of fuel and the tyres, plus the heat, we had a bit to control but overall I think we can be pretty happy about how we handled it and to be in the points is magic.
“All the top teams finished ahead of us and there were no failures or reliability issues so it was the maximum we could have achieved. I’m now looking forward to Australia where we will get some more updates and it could put us in an even better position for the next race. Overall a great result for the team.”
Adrian Sutil finished out of the points in twelfth place after he spun on the first lap. The German was behind Mark Webber’s Red Bull when a cloud of smoke was billowing out of its rear. It completely blocked Sutil’s vision and he lightly tapped the Renault of Robert Kubica. This contact sent Sutil into a spin, and he ended up at the back of the field. He pushed hard to make up the places he had lost, and was heading for the top ten towards the end of the race, but missed out on points. He does have the consolation of setting the second fastest lap time of the race.
Sutil said the team had learned a lot from the race, but he was disappointed to miss out on points. “At least we finished. After the incident in the first corner it was the maximum we could do. We had a good race in the end, learning a lot about the tyres and how the car behaves at the end of a race, but the incident pretty much destroyed my hopes of getting any points.
“I don’t really know what happened in that corner – I was driving and then there was a big cloud of smoke so I was blind going into it. I touched someone and spun and that was it. It’s a shame but we will keep pushing for the next race.”
Dr Vijay Mallya, the team principal, was very happy with the points and is glad to be close to the pace of the top teams. “What a great start to the season! I am absolutely delighted that we have scored in the first race of the season. It was always our aim to score points and we knew we had the pace to do it, but nevertheless to finally get there gives a great feeling.
“Tonio drove a superb race, matching the pace of the top teams in front, and it is certainly encouraging for the coming races. Adrian was unlucky and I know he will be disappointed not to have been able to capitalise on his starting position, but the season is long and he is hungry so I do not think he will have to wait long for his turn.”