Before the opening race in Australia, Force India admitted that they would be struggling to challenge some of their midfield rivals in the early races after a relatively lacklustre pre-season performance. However, as they head to the Chinese Grand Prix, the team have four points from two races and new driver Paul di Resta is looking a promising prospect.
“It’s very pleasing to see how we have progressed over the last few weeks, by keeping our heads down and focussing on our game,” said team principal Vijay Mallya. “The teams at Brackley and Silverstone have done a great job with the VJM004 so far, and with upgrades due for the coming races, I am optimistic that we shall be able to continue improving our form and making steps forward to increase our pace. We head to China with our heads held high and in good spirits for another successful race.”
Adrian Sutil is quite keen to get to Shanghai, a circuit he enjoys, and an exciting city. “It is quite an interesting, modern circuit [in China] with an extensive Paddock,” said the German. “The track has unique corners, with very long right handers where you really have to get everything right to gain an advantage.
“There are different lines you can take, so there are many ways to approach a lap, and the long straight where you can normally pass quite well. The weather can a little bit tricky with cold and sometimes wet conditions, but in general it is a grand prix I like.
“The metropolitan city is also exciting, with an amazing skyline, shopping and restaurants, it’s usually a good weekend and I am happy to go there.”
Paul di Resta, who outraced his team-mate last weekend in Malaysia, is looking forward to his first race in China, having participated in the Friday morning practice session in Shanghai last year. “It is quite a technical track and one that I am keen to experience more as I had a small taste of it last year,” he said.
“It will be interesting to see how the DRS activation works with the rear wing in Shanghai because if its going to work anywhere that’s where it will be because it has a very long straight. The corners are very long, with big radiuses.
“I visited Shanghai city twice last year, and it is huge with an amazing culture and great things to see, so it should be a good weekend.”
Test and reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg will be commandeering Sutil’s car for FP1 on Friday morning, and he is also a fan of the track. “The Shanghai circuit is a huge progressive facility and there are some nice corners on the track,” he said. “For me there shall be some evaluation work of the prime tyres in FP1, driving Adrian’s car for the first time; which is not a problem as I know all the team and engineers very well.
“Over a race weekend I also try to assist the engineers, to a certain extent, during our meetings. I listen to feedback from the other drivers for their experience of the track for my future reference and I speak to the engineers afterwards to see what kind of direction they are taking. The meetings also keep me up to date with the current facts of Formula 1, so I am prepared to be in the car at any time should I need to be.”