Both Force India race drivers are satisfied with their first three races of 2011, especially considering their pessimism before season got underway which arose from a difficult winter test session, are feeling positive about the coming races.
After a three week break, Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta will be back in the VJM04 for the Turkish Grand Prix. Adrian Sutil has raced in Istanbul four times before, and is looking forward to returning to the modern track. He is also optimistic that his team can built on the better-than-expected start to 2011.
“It feels like ages since the last race, but it was good to have a short break to think about our start to the season, to analyse all the data and to relax a bit,” said the German “In many ways the first three races were better than expected: we scored points and were always quite close to the top ten. As a team I think we did a good job and we’ve shown we have pretty solid reliability. The task now is developing the car and the updates we have coming look interesting so I’m excited to see how it goes.
“For this weekend, I’m looking forward to racing in Istanbul and I enjoy going there. It’s a nice circuit: up and down, long straights and you can overtake. Turn eight is very special – a fantastic corner to experience in an F1 car because of the high g-forces. I think we will be quite competitive and once again the goal is to score points.”
Di Resta has impressed many observers, beginning his F1 career by collecting points at his first two races. He is pleased with his efforts so far and, despite having never driven this Turkish track before, is looking forward to the challenge.
“I think the season so far has gone pretty well – very positive in terms of our performance from a team point of view,” he commented. “We know that we have work to do in terms of outright speed, but we’ve definitely maximised our strengths. We understand the car better now and that’s where we have made big gains from winter testing.
“It was nice to have a break after China and I’ve been able to recharge my batteries before the European season starts. Racing at Istanbul will be a new experience for me because I didn’t take part in Friday practice last year and I’ve never driven the track. All I have to go on is the simulator work I’ve carried out in preparation for the event. Turn eight will be difficult, but the other corners are equally important for a good laptime. For learning a new track the simulation work helps and the team also provide me with as much information as possible. But I need to get an impression first before I think too much about it.”
Dr. Vijay Mallya, the Force India Team Principal, echoes the sentiments of his drivers when discussing his team’s start to the season.
“I think that overall we can be pleased with our start to the season,” he said. “To have points on the board and a car that is capable of qualifying in the top ten means we are well placed to build on our competitiveness as we begin the European season.
“I’m very proud of both our drivers, too. Paul has driven superbly and has adapted very quickly to Formula One. Combined with Adrian’s speed and experience, I see no reason why we cannot challenge for points at every race this year. Plus, we have some promising aerodynamic upgrades in the pipeline, which should make a significant difference to the performance of the car in the coming races.”