Adrian Sutil was the fastest driver in Free Practice 1 today in Bahrain as Force India focused on short, low fuel runs in the morning session. Teammate Tonio Liuzzi was seventh quickest in the same session in the VJM03.
Force India spent the afternoon comparing the two dry tyre compounds on longer runs. Sutil was twelfth fastest, ahead of Liuzzi in fourteenth.
Sutil is aiming for a top ten grid position in tomorrow’s qualifying, and believes the team have the performance to achieve his target. “It’s our goal to get two cars through to Q3 for this weekend and I think we now have a very good baseline with the car and good downforce compared to last year. We can be a top ten runner with this car this year and myself and Tonio are working well together.
“If we can qualify in the top ten now it can lead to decent points, which is, at the end of the day, what we want to do consistently this season. I would say it’s a promising start to get there, for sure.”
Liuzzi was also pleased with the days effort, and believes the team are well positioned to built on their performance in qualifying tomorrow. “We learnt quite a lot about the car with these kind of hot conditions, which we weren’t able to do in the cool of the winter testing. The car is reacting well to different fuel loads and to different tyres and overall we can be pretty happy with the results at the end of this first Friday. I think we are in a good way for tomorrow. For sure we could improve our single lap time, but the race pace looks good. A positive start to the weekend.”
Chief race engineer Dominic Harlow echoed his drivers’ sentiments. “We’re pleased with the results and I think that our tyre management in the hot conditions looks good. The circuit changes for this year’s race are a definite positive for the event and should make for a good race on Sunday.”