Force India had a ‘trouble free day’ of practice at Interlagos, but could only managed 14th and 16th fastest in the Friday afternoon session as they prepared for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
Adrian Sutil was the quicker of the driver pair today, and seemed happy with the set-up of his car and the new parts the team have brought to South America this weekend. The German is also hoping, however, that rain in qualifying helps to improve his grid position tomorrow:
“Today was a reasonable start to the weekend with no major problems and some solid running in both sessions,” explained Sutil. “We ran through our usual programme of long and shorter runs and tyre work and got lots of information to work on tonight.
“Unusually for here the surface was quite grippy, even in the morning, so we didn’t need to wait for it to rubber in to get the tyre comparison data. We also had some new items to test and the car felt consistent and balanced, even if there wasn’t such a huge improvement in time, maybe half a tenth or so.
“Let’s see what we can do tomorrow: the weather conditions for qualifying look to be a bit mixed so it could be an opportunity to show well.”
Tonio Liuzzi was a little less satisfied with his set-up today, and had problems with his F-duct (or ‘switchable rear wing’ as the team prefer to call it). However, he warns his rivals that the performance of his VJM03 will improve as the weekend progresses.
“Overall it went pretty well today over the two sessions,” said the Italian, before going on to describe his problems. “We still need to understand a bit more about the set-up as this is a difficult track to get right with the long straights and then the twisty middle section – you need to get the right compromise between the downforce levels. We also had an issue with the switchable rear wing in the morning but we sorted it for the afternoon.
“We could go some way into understanding the tyre performance but we’ve got a bit of work to do on the balance to get everything right, although on the positive side we know there’s still more to come from us.”
Chief Race Engineer Dominic Harlow said that the team now need to consider their tactics for the weekend. Rain is predicted for qualifying tomorrow, although race day is expected to be dry.
“A trouble free day for both cars, well executed programmes and good quality data,” Harlow said, summarising Force India’s practice sessions. “We’ve a few decisions to take overnight with respect to set up and some of the aero changes we evaluated today. The rest of the weekend will be tactically an interesting challenge for us with compromises for qualifying and the race to be weighed up.”