Force India didn’t show good pace relative to their rivals in Friday practice at Hungary – finishing the day with Adrian Sutil sixteenth fastest and Tonio Liuzzi eighteenth – but they spent much of their day evaluating a new blown diffuser.
Today my main goal was to get as much running as possible with the new blown diffuser,” explained Sutil. “We made very good progress in this regard and didn’t have any real problems with it, which is a major achievement given how big a component it is to introduce. It seemed to work quite well with the various mappings, and also the temperatures look under control so we can be quite confident in it.
“In general we didn’t get the best out of the car today. We are struggling a little on the softer tyre and neither Tonio nor myself could improve from the hard tyre. There doesn’t seem to be a peak with it, unlike the hard tyre that you know will peak and come in, but it’s much more difficult to understand where we are with the soft one.
“We’ll continue to look at it and hope that we can improve tomorrow.”
Liuzzi wasn’t in the car for the morning session. Instead it was Paul di Resta at the wheel. The Force India test and reserve driver finished the session fifteenth without the blown diffuser while teammate Sutil was eleventh.
“Today was my first outing at the Hungaroring so I necessarily spent a fair bit of time learning the track,” said the Scot. “It’s quite a complicated one to get to grips with and get into a good rhythm, with a lot of corners that flow into each other with no real rest. The average speed is quite slow as well so you’re not getting the full effect of the cars as you would at a track like Silverstone. All the same, I really enjoyed being out there.
“The track was low grip to start with but the grip level slowly improved and we were able to run through all the programme. I wasn’t running the blown diffuser so it is difficult to compare directly how I did relative to Adrian, but I am pretty happy with how it went today.
Liuzzi was back in the car in the afternoon, and after his running is predicting a difficult weekend for the team. “For now the balance is quite good, particularly on the hard tyre, but we need to understand why we didn’t improve on the soft compound,” said the Italian “It’s going to be a tough weekend for us, but we’ve done some productive running today and will look at everything overnight to try and find some more time tomorrow.”
Chief Race Engineer Dominic Harlow was a bit more optimistic than his driver, but knows that the competition from Force India’s midfield rivals will be tough this weekend.
“[It was] an interesting day here in Hungary as we learned a great deal about our exhaust blown diffuser with Adrian whilst Tonio concentrated on the tyre evaluations,” he explained. “Initial indications are positive.
“The circuit was in quite good shape at the start of the day and, as the temperatures increased the grip became a bit harder to find. We can improve the balance a bit more for tomorrow, and things are very tight in our area of the field so it’s really a question of examining the data and going forward from there.