German GP - Force India Mercedes - Preview
Sebastian Vettel aside, Force India Mercedes driver Giancarlo Fisichella
put in the one of the most impressive runs last time out at the British Grand Prix and is aiming to go that little bit better in Germany this weekend as he
chases his and the team’s first points of the season.
After starting 16th the Italian veteran took full advantage of the battling Nick Heidfeld
and Lewis Hamilton to pass both in one swoop through Stowe corner and then made best of the BMW Sauber driver’s problems to pull clear and take the chequered flag in tenth position, just a couple of seconds and two positions out of the points.
Points of course have been very hard to come by again this year for the Silverstone-based team, but at least the updates to the VJM02 package at Silverstone showed promise for the second half of the season.
“We knew we had to introduce a significant upgrade in Bahrain, then a more comprehensive upgrade at Silverstone,” explained Team Principal Vijay Mallya. “I think this upgrade showed that the car is now a true, strong midfield competitor. The bottom line is that we're there, and all that I had programmed for the team in terms of gradual improvement in 2009 is happening.
“Given our relatively small size, this is a great achievement and we'll keep going flat out up to the mandatory August break. I hope that we will score some points during the remainder of this season.”
Fisichella himself is naturally upbeat following the strong Silverstone showing and is hoping that a better qualifying run will aid his chances on race day at the Nurburgring.
“Last year we were struggling at some of the tracks to race with other teams and sometimes I would have very lonely races, but this season we've been right there fighting,” he said.
“It's very encouraging. Every part we've put on the car this year has made a difference in performance so we're clearly going in the right direction. It's very motivating for the team and for me personally as a driver. When you're in the hunt you want it so much more.
“With a better starting position hopefully we'll be able to finish higher. We're so close to the points I want to finish the job now!”
For Adrian Sutil, the recent races have been more trying. The British Grand Prix saw the German lose control of his Force India both in qualifying and then race to a distant 17th position on race day. “For sure the last race in Silverstone was a bit disappointing as it was an important race with our new updates and we had an incident in qualifying,” he stated. “Without this I think we could have been really close to the points, or even in the points.”
While the team has yet to score a point this year and languish last in the constructors’ championship, Mallya has high expectations of his team and expects big steps over the next two years.
“From 2010 onwards we will be in the points on a regular basis,” the Indian declared. “And that leads me to believe that my often stated objective of being on the podium in 2011 isn't a pipe dream anymore…”