Formula 1

Force India Battle-Ready For Abu Dhabi GP

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Force India head into the final race of the 2010 Formula 1 series in an epic battle with Williams for sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship.

The team trail Williams by just one point going into Sunday’s race, but will need to reverse their recent run of poor results at the Yas Marina circuit if they are to overhaul their closest rivals.

“I’m very proud that we are going to the final round of the 2010 championship fighting for sixth position in the constructors’ championship,” said Vijay Mallya, the chairman and team principal. “When we look back to where we were 12 months back, and when I think we only created Force India three seasons ago, we’ve progressed a great deal.

“We’ve built a very competitive car that has been in the points 15 times, four of which in the top six, been in Q3 nine times and has matched the pace of the larger and more established teams. It’s a credit to the hard work of the team in Silverstone and Brackley who have worked so hard on a tight budget with relatively small resources. We’ve really earned our stripes this year and deserve to show that in the final standings.

“Abu Dhabi would be a fitting place to secure our highest-ever finish in the championship. The event was fantastic last year, a really impressive facility with great atmosphere and the sight of the cars under the lights was, for me, one of the highlights of the year. There’s a huge Indian community in the country and we had a lot of support last year so it would be a fitting place to finish the job.”

Despite failing to collect any points in Brazil, Adrian Sutil felt that he had a good race after fighting his way up from 22nd on the grid to finish in P12. The German enjoyed last seasons’ inaugural race in Abu Dhabi and, as well as concentrating on the inter-team battle, has his sights set on a tenth place finish in the drivers’ championship.

“I was really pleased with our race performance last weekend in Brazil,” said Sutil. “The pace was good and I enjoyed the race. We could move up 10 positions and I was setting lap times that were pretty similar to the top ten so we showed that the performance is still there, we just need to work on qualifying.

“Abu Dhabi is a very impressive venue to have a race. The city is ultra modern and there’s always something new being built that’s bigger and better than anything we’ve seen! The Yas Marina circuit is similarly very high tech, with one of the best paddocks we visit in terms of the facilities and the style. The track has a lot of the Tilke trademarks such as the hairpins and long straights so there’s a few overtaking places. With the championship being so close we are sure to see a very exciting race.

“I’m really motivated to help the team to sixth in the championship now, the best result we’ve had in a long time. I also want to get back into the top ten in the drivers’ championship ahead of Rubens [Barrichello]. Michael [Schumacher] seems to be quite far away now but I think we can take Rubens for tenth. We made some good progress on the car in Brazil with the development parts and have some further bits to test in Abu Dhabi so it’s very positive going into this final round of what’s been a great season so far.”

Tonio Liuzzi is also looking forward to what he thinks will be a very interesting final weekend. “Abu Dhabi is going to be a really exciting event for everybody – there are so many battles up and down the field that it’s going to be a great race to watch,” said the Italian. “Certainly for us it’s going to be interesting as we are fighting with Williams for sixth place in the championship. We fell one point behind in Brazil but that is a slim margin with so many points available.

“The Yas Marina circuit is a fantastic facility, quite unlike any of the other tracks on the calendar. The paddock is very impressive and the atmosphere was good last year. The circuit itself is quite a typical modern layout with right angle corners and longish straights leading into tight hairpins. It’s not the most challenging we visit but there are still some interesting features, including the fact that we run under the lights. We start at sunset and finish in the dark, but as in Singapore the organisers have done a good job to install a fantastic light system.

“Last year we had a difficult race and only finished in 15th, but this year we have to look to finish in the points to take the fight to Williams again. The last race in Brazil was positive from the pace point of view but unfortunately I didn’t finish as something broke on the car and we crashed about two thirds of the way through. We’ve looked into why and are confident it won’t happen again this race so we can fully focus on sealing our best-ever result in the championship.”

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David is an occasional contributer to the site on matters related to Formula 1. You can follow him on twitter at @Dr_Bean.
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