Adrian Sutil and Tonio Liuzzi finished Friday in Valencia eighth and twelfth fastest for Force India, while test and reserve driver Paul di Resta returned to the cockpit for the first time since Barcelona in Free Practice 1.
The team were conducting tests on their switchable rear wing (F-duct) today, while allowing Liuzzi and di Resta, who have never driven the Spanish streets circuit before, to gain experience of the track.
Sutil was pleased with the extra speed provided by the SRW and believes that Q3 is a realistic target for him in tomorrow’s qualifying session. “I was only out in FP2 but it went well today, according to plan,” explained the German. “I was happy with the balance straight away and didn’t change so much over the session. The switchable rear wing is working very well now and it makes a real difference. The long run pace was also good so overall there were no real problems – quite a relaxing day!
“At this stage we can’t predict exactly what will happen tomorrow, but based on our pace today I think we are strong here and I hope we can have the same positions we did in Montreal, or around that area – Q3 is definitely possible from what we’ve seen in practice.”
Liuzzi didn’t sound quite as pleased as his teammate at the end of the day, but still sounded positive when talking about the performance of his VJM03. “[It was] quite a good Friday for us,” he said. “I used the opening session to learn the track: it’s quite a strange circuit as there aren’t too many corners, but it’s quite technical and the kerbs are a little strange as you have to find a very precise line.
“The car is responding well to changes and we seem to be pretty competitive on lower fuel. We’ve also got some good information on the SRW and it is working better than in Turkey.
“We just need to make a couple of small steps to adjust the balance but we are going in the right direction and I think we can improve a bit for tomorrow.”
Paul di Resta described the track here at Valencia as ‘easy to learn’ and feels that he is making good progress as a Formula 1 driver. “I could get up to speed quickly … and completed the programme we wanted,” said the Scot. “I feel I know the car behaviour a lot more so I’m going forward with the schedule and coming back with results that can be fed back into the weekend, so I’m pretty happy with how it went.”
Chief Engineer Dominic Harlow expects that monitoring the evolution of the track over the weekend will be important to success. “There was quite a substantial improvement in the track condition during the sessions and all in all we’re satisfied with the way the car was performing by the end of the afternoon,” he said. “It looks set to continue to be warm and we now need to follow the evolution of the conditions and tyres through the event to get the best result we can on Sunday.”