Force India had a mixed Friday at Suzuka, where Adrian Sutil finished fourth and ninth in the two practice sessions, but Tonio Liuzzi struggled with balance and could only post the sixteenth and eighteenth quickest times in the morning and afternoon respectively.
The team focussed their efforts largely on establishing a baseline set-up for the weekend and evaluating the new aero package they have introduced. They also conducted the usual tyre comparison work.
“I feel today went quite well,” said Sutil. “In the morning session I did just one run on the hard tyres as we had a small issue that kept us in the garage for longer than we hoped for, but we fixed it between sessions and got on with a very busy programme in the afternoon.
“We made a lot of runs to test the fuel levels, the wing settings and run through our normal changes. The car felt good the whole day so there wasn’t really very much to change. We also didn’t have any major problems so overall we can be quite pleased with the progress we’ve made.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow, there’s a threat of rain and it should make it a very interesting and exciting qualifying session.”
Despite his struggles, Liuzzi sounded upbeat as he summarised his day, optimistic about the improvements he should find on his car tomorrow.
“It was generally quite a decent day as we did a lot of work, particularly in the afternoon when we did over 30 laps,” said the Italian. “We are struggling with the balance at the moment with a lack of overall grip and we couldn’t get the best out of the soft tyres when we ran them in FP2.
“We should be better tomorrow when we’ve looked through all the data and gone a bit deeper into why we haven’t got the ideal set up just yet. The predicted weather will add another dimension so I’m looking forward to getting back on track to have a better day tomorrow.”
Chief race engineer Dominic Harlow was happy with the team’s efforts today, declaring the two sessions a ‘good start’ to this Japanese Grand Prix weekend. “A good day’s work from the team today,” he said. “We evaluated some of the aerodynamic upgrades that we have brought to this event and carried out our normal Friday preparation. The Bridgestone tyres are working very well, and we are going in the right direction for the balance of the car.
2The wind picked up a bit this afternoon, affecting the first sector, and Tonio suffered a systems problem on his new tyre outing so we know there a little more to come. Tomorrow is a different day, but it’s been a solid start to the weekend.”