Force India, like all other teams during Friday practice in Turkey today, did some impromptu wet weather testing this morning as heavy rain blighted the first 90 minute session.
Paul di Resta and test and reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg were in the car, with di Resta evaluating a new front wing and doing wet-weather set-up work, whilst Hulkenberg evaluated the Pirelli wet weather tyres.
Adrian Sutil took over from Hulkenberg for the afternoon session, after the track had dried. It was his turn to test the new front wing, whilst di Resta compared the two dry tyre compounds.
“The wet weather session this morning made it difficult to learn much about the new front wing, but it was important for me to get a feel for the track and the wet weather tyres,” said di Resta, who finished the day eighth on the timesheets. “For the afternoon, the priority was to try and understand the hard and soft tyres: we did two runs on the hard and two runs on the soft, which has given us lots of data to analyse this evening as we plan our approach for tomorrow.
“Overall I think we’ve made a good start and the car feels relatively straightforward. There are always things to improve, but I’m happy with my day.”
Despite not taking part in the morning session, Sutil feels well prepared for the rest of the weekend in Turkey. After finishing the day tenth on the timesheets, he sounded positive when talking about the set-up of his car, and the performance of the Pirelli tyres.
“We had the wing to try on my car this afternoon, which was quite interesting, but now we have to look at the data and try to really understand it,” explained the German. “At the moment it’s too early to say that much. I tried both the hard and the soft tyres and did a long run on each, so I feel quite well prepared.
“I think the hard tyre was the best and most consistent today, but that could easily change as the track evolves. For the general balance of the car, we will work on trying to improve in the final sector and dial out some of the understeer. However, the car felt very well balanced in the high-speed corners.”
In summing up the day, Circuit Engineering Director Dominic Harlow was positive: “It has been quite a good Friday for the team with our three drivers contributing to the programme,” he said.
“In the FP1 session the rain made the circuit quite tricky: conditions were in the most part fairly consistent, but at times some standing water built up at turns two and 11 – this was the case after the red flag [caused by Sebastian Vettel]. We ran only the wet tyre and worked to find a balance during what was still quite a new experience for us in terms of running on the Pirelli tyres in this weather.
“It dried up for the afternoon and, as well as sitting out the morning session, Adrian had to work through an aero test programme, which he did very well. We’ve now got to focus on the data to understand what we have learnt today. For Paul, after trying the new front wing in the morning, it was more about tyre evaluation this afternoon. Nico, once again provided us with a solid baseline and initial set-up evaluation in the wet.”