The 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship reaches its halfway point at the British Grand Prix, round ten of the series. For the Force India F1 Team the British Grand Prix always has a special resonance, with its factory based just metres from the gates to Silverstone circuit. With
new upgrades scheduled to debut this race and a British driver in its line-up for the first time since 2003 the team is even more eager to see the 2010 edition get underway.
Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal
Were you pleased to see the team get another good helping of points in Valencia?
Very pleased, as that's now five consecutive races in the points for us, two of which as double points finishes. The grid positions on Saturday were unfortunate, but the safety car played into our hands for Adrian. All the same I wouldn't say we were lucky. We had called Adrian in for a pit stop before Webber's crash, but the rest of the race was clearly on merit. Adrian overtook Buemi and didn't make any mistakes so we were able to finish sixth on the road. It was bad luck for Tonio as we believe he was held up by Petrov in the stops, because he couldn't get out of the pit box. But all in all, eight points was good and it certainly reinforces my confidence in the car. We should be regularly in the points, and if we miss, we need to investigate why, because the car is always capable of scoring.
Silverstone is the team's home race, and obviously a big weekend. How do you feel about it?
It's a very big weekend, and obviously Silverstone is where we really want to perform well. It's the home race for us now and there's a lot of involvement from the guys in the factory, and the whole team enjoys the race weekend. We've got a little update coming, over and above what we had in Valencia, and hopefully we can bring both cars home well into the points. Clearly this car is better than anything we've had at Silverstone in many years.
Silverstone is the half way part of the season. Are you happy with the way things have gone so far?
I've said before that the objective of 2010 was to regularly score points, and I think we're meeting that objective. Spa and Monza are tracks that will suit the car better, and if we can get a podium, that would be the icing on the cake. But if not, at least we're demonstrating that we're scoring points. We're up to 43 now, and this team hasn't done as well in a long while.
Adrian Sutil (car 14, VJM03/03)
Valencia was a weekend of ups and downs for you - what's your perspective of it overall?
Sixth position in the end was very good for us and really a reflection of where we are in the field now. There are some tracks where we might even be a bit higher up but we are right there close to the front and anything from third to sixth is always a possibility. It was disappointing we couldn't show how quick we were in qualifying but we now know what went wrong and how to avoid it in the future. I don't think I've felt so comfortable in F1 - everything is gelling together very well and we're getting the results to prove it now.
Next on the calendar is Silverstone - with the team being based so close to the track, do you have a special affection for it?
Silverstone is the closest to the team's factory and a lot of the staff go over to the track to watch the race. This year as well they are hosting a staff event at the factory on Saturday so it should be an even better atmosphere. Everyone is working so hard for the results it would be perfect to get a good finish in front of our 'home' crowd. There's a lot of history there for the team as well, it's where we shakedown our cars at the start of the year, where we have tested so many times, and getting some points would be a fantastic feeling.
Have you been round the new track, or studied the new layout?
We've done all the usual simulation work for the new layout, and I will go into the simulator this week but there hasn't been so much exceptional preparation. There's only one new section and the rest of the circuit has stayed the same so, in fact, it's not such a big workload for us. They seem to have kept the best sections and the overall character will stay the same, so high speed and flowing for the majority of the lap.
What do you think is possible over the weekend?
We have some new developments, I would say a very similar step to Valencia, around the front wing and floor. As we saw last year, every update we put on - whether large or small - does move us forward so I think it will put us in a similar position to Valencia, top ten, higher if we can. We've also got the SRW working really well now too so the combination of the new parts and the extra top speed makes me feel quite confident going into this race.
Tonio Liuzzi (car 15, VJM03/01)
How was your Valencia weekend?
It was a tough race as we had the pace but we knew it would be hard to overtake and, starting from 13th, it was always going to be an uphill battle. For some people the safety car worked out well, but for me it didn't. I got the call to come into the pits at the same time as Adrian and I had to queue behind him, then I got delayed by another four or five seconds because of traffic in the pit lane and lost about seven or eight positions. From there it was practically impossible to fight for points. No one was to blame, it was just bad luck. It's quite disappointing as we showed a good pace, but this is racing and we have to accept what happened and move on. We're going to our 'home' Grand Prix next and it would be a dream to get a good result over the weekend there in front of all the factory.
Silverstone is next, with the track highly modified since you last raced there. Have you looked at the new configuration, or been in the simulator?
I'm really looking forward to the next race. I always liked the old track layout with the high speed sections, particularly the Becketts complex that is a real challenge as you need to keep the momentum all the way through the corners. I've looked at the new section and it might actually be even more suited to the characteristics of our car. I think we can be as good there as we were in Valencia, but hopefully without the qualifying problems we had. We will be aiming for the top ten again.
At Silverstone, the halfway point in the year, some teams will bring big updates. Are you confident you can maintain the team's position?
Some teams, including Renault, brought big updates to Valencia, but I don't think this is cause for concern as we held our own and we could have been in the points with both cars if we hadn't had the qualifying session we did. Also I am confident in what we have coming ourselves. We have some solid updates for the British Grand Prix that will give us extra downforce in high-speed corners, which is crucial at that track. I really want to put on a good show in front of the factory to give them a reward for the work they've done and the trust, belief and support they have shown me.
Paul di Resta, test and reserve driver
You'll be back in the VJM03 on Friday in Silverstone, in front of your home crowd, how does that feel?
I'm looking forward to it, particularly as I've not raced in the UK for some time. I left to go to F3 Euroseries in 2005 and then have been racing in the DTM so this will be a really exciting time to return, particularly when there's so much support for F1 in Britain after our two back to back world champions. More importantly I am looking forward to getting back into the car, and at a track that is as high speed as Silverstone. Valencia wasn't such a challenge as it was just straights then turn in, but at Silverstone you're really relying on the car's performance. Plus to race round a track that's got so much history and so much tradition about it, that's quite special.
What are your experiences of Silverstone, have you raced there before? I can remember watching my cousin Dario in a Vauxhall Junior race when I was very young and then I got my turn when I raced there in Formula Renault in 2003 and 2004. I started from pole and had good races, but after that I started racing in Europe. But my strongest memory of Silverstone is when I first drove an F1 car there as part of my McLaren Autosport BRDC Award prize that I won in 2004. All the assessments for the prize were also done at the track so, for sure, I do feel that Silverstone is a real milestone in my career so far. It will be a special thrill to sit in an F1 car going around Silverstone and I'm really looking forward to it. All the same I'm going out there with the same approach I've always had: with my head in gear, giving the team consistent running, valuable feedback time and learning the track for the future.