British GP - Force India Mercedes - Preview
Force India Mercedes head to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone with a raft of updates to the VJM02 challenger aiming to score its first point of the season. Based a few steps away from the main gate at the Northamptonshire
circuit, the team can certainly call this their home race.Giancarlo Fisichella
and Adrian Sutil are 17th and 18th in the driversí championship having both secured best results of ninth, while the hard-working team are tenth in the constructors' standings five points behind nearest rival Toro Rosso Ferrari.
Despite the failure to score so far this year, Team Principal Vijay Mallya remain his usual bullish self and is happy with the gains his team has made so far this year.
"I think we've shown excellent progress, and in this sport, which is so competitive, it's unreasonable to expect some miraculous results," said Mallya. "We made Q2 in Monaco, we made Q2 again in Istanbul, obviously not by chance, but on merit and that is a huge step forward. Now we've had two in a row, and hopefully with a new upgrade to come in Silverstone we should make Q2 going forward for the rest of this season, and without too much difficulty."
"We're not quite in the points yet, but we're a good midfield competitor," Mallya continued. "I always said that the idea would be to get some points this year, be regularly in the points next year in 2010. And I've talked about podium finishes in 2011 to coincide with the Indian GP. I think I'm pretty much on track."
While points in a future Indian Grand Prix would be a dream result for the team, the more immediate task takes place at Silverstone this weekend with the updated VJM02 package.
"we have a fairly large upgrade scheduled for this weekend," Mallya stated. "We will introduce changes to the front wing, bodywork and floor with one or two detail updates elsewhere as well. It's a significant step forward and I am very pleased that the team has been able to explore, build and then get this on the car before the summer break. Our rate of development has, I would say, been quite impressive given the small number of people and the limited budget we have available and I hope the overall package will take a step forward this weekend."
Italian veteran Giancarlo Fisichella
is keen to put the disappointment of Turkey behind him after he was forced to retire early in the race with ongoing braking issues that had dogged him for much of the weekend. Now he looks forward to the action this weekend at Silverstone.
"For me, it's one of the best circuits of the year," Fisichella said. "The first part of the circuit, from Copse to Becketts is very high speed, taken nearly flat. We slow down just a little bit at the end of the pit straight, then we go flat again. We lift the throttle pedal just a little for four at the middle of the complex and then back on it again for five. Even turn seven, Stowe, is another nice, quick fourth gear corner before a hairpin in turn eight, Vale. Through Club it's quite difficult as the car is sliding around on four wheels, with the rear end very nervous. Under the bridge is now quite easy, but a few years ago it was much more difficult. The last corner through the complex is typically understeer but you need to have a good exit as then you're across the start finish line. If this year will be the last race at Silverstone, I'll be sad to see it go."
"The whole team work so hard and quite often for little reward in terms of points and results, that I really hope I can put on a good show while they can see it," Fisichella continued. "With the new upgrades coming through I'm pretty confident that would be possible."
Adrian Sutil is also looking forward to the team's home Grand Prix after his difficult race in Turkey that saw him finish 17th.
"The team is based about 400m from the main gates and Silverstone feels like a second home to me now as I go there so often," the German racer explained. "The race is a very special one, not just because it's the home race, there is something about the atmosphere that has a buzz unlike anywhere else. The British fans love their motorsport and it's not just for Lewis or Jenson, you really feel their enthusiasm for the sport in general. The track is also a very good one. It's very fast and there are some great sections such as the Copse to Maggotts section that you have to take quickly but be gentle on the gas and on the brakes - I know, I've had some offs there in the past! The final complex slows the lap down a bit and you lose your rhythm slightly but the final turn on Woodcote can be tricky to get right. The walls are very close..."