Force India made ‘good progress’ over the two ninety-minute Friday practice sessions in Barcelona, and had both cars within the top 12 at the end of the day.
Tonio Liuzzi, Adrian Sutil and reserve driver Paul di Resta were all in action today, with di Resta behind the wheel of Sutil’s VJM03 for the morning session. Sutil finished the day in 10th place, with teammate Liuzzi finishing 12th. Di Resta finish Free Practice 1 in 13th place, ahead of the more experience Liuzzi who could only finish 15th.
Adrian Sutil was back in his car for Free Practice 2 and thinks that the team are in good shape for the race. “Today was a pretty good day. I sat out the earlier practice session but we got all the data we needed from the afternoon to be able to understand the tyre performance and how the new aero parts we have brought to the track affect our performance.
“Overall everything seems to be working well. We could do extended runs on both the hard and soft tyre compounds and I was quite happy with the balance on both. The soft tyres take a couple of laps to come in but when they do they seem to work quite well. I think we’re in good shape for tomorrow’s qualifying – I think we should be where we were in China or even higher.”
Tonio Liuzzi was also positive after the practice sessions. “Overall today was good” reported the Italian. “In the morning we had a bit of a problem as I got a flat spot on my front right tyre on my first run. As we only use one set of tyres in this session, it affected the second run as it changed the balance of the car and we couldn’t really set a representative time or test too many things.
“In the afternoon though we did some good work on each of the runs with a few different settings with different fuel levels, so the way we need to go is quite clear. We are suffering a little with understeer so we have some changes to make for tomorrow but in general it’s not too bad. I think we will perform well in qualifying tomorrow.”
Reserve driver Paul di Resta, who was taking part in his fourth practice session today, says he is getting used to the car: “Having had the experience of the first three races and having got more familiar with Adrian’s car, I think I started where I left off in China. I feel this time it didn’t take too long to get up to speed and we got some productive running, particularly in the early part of the session, which is when the track was slightly quicker. I got a better impression of the circuit and we ran through the schedule as planned, which included some baseline work and tyre comparisons: it was a good morning session.”
Chief race engineer Dominic Harlow said that the day had been successful, and hopes for a good qualifying session tomorrow. “This weekend will be about qualifying position and the way the weather turns out to be on Sunday. Today’s programmes with Paul, Tonio and Adrian were trouble-free, and apart from relatively low grip levels we have had no significant problems. We tested some developments for future events together with the updates we have brought here, and once we’ve completed our usual analysis will carry this forward to tomorrow.“