Karun Chandhok Interview!

We have now reached our target of 175 likes on facebook so as promised here is your interview!

Those of you who guessed our mystery interview was with Karun Chandhok ... you were right!

 (click to enlarge)

Below are the questions we put to him and his very interesting answers - enjoy! =)

1) How did you become an F1 driver, where did it all begin - can you briefly describe your journey for us?

Racing has been my life ever since I can remember. I used to watch F1 races from when I was 2 years old even though it never came on TV at that time, as we used to get the video tapes of the races from friends in the UK.  I’ve been obsessed with the sport and have grown up in a Motorsport environment (my grandfather raced in the 50’s and founded the Federation of Motorsports Clubs of India and my dad has been racing since 1972). It was a natural progression for me. I tell a lot of people that in India family businesses are very common so I guess you could say this is ours! Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted to be a racing driver so I’m glad to be part of the fortunate bunch that get to live out their childhood dream!!

2) What was your reaction when you heard the news that you would be racing for HRT for the 2010 season?

When everything got confirmed it was a truly unbelievable feeling. To fulfil a lifelong dream of being in Formula One was one of the biggest accomplishments of my career. When I got to Bahrain, I think it finally sank in that I was going to be on the same grid as World Champions like Schumacher and Alonso. At the same time I knew we had a huge challenge in front of us as we had never even tested the car.

3) You were obviously disappointed when you lost that seat; given that your performances were just as good as Senna's surely the decision was about money?

First of all it is great to see my former team-mate and good friend Bruno Senna behind the wheel of the Lotus Renault car and I'm very pleased to see him back racing again. Ups and downs is a common feature in any driver’s racing career and I am no different but luckily I turned all my focus on securing a seat for this year. Tony Fernandes and I started talking at the end of last year about where I could see myself going, and where the team is heading, and I was straight away impressed about how he wanted to build his Asian team - with Asian drivers, an Asian team principal and having more of an Asian influence in personnel as well. And it has been totally worth it as it feels good to be part of Team Lotus and I am glad that I am able to contribute in shaping the teams future.

4) So now you are at Team Lotus, are you enjoying your role at the team?

Team Lotus is less than 2 years old but they are one hell of an ambitious team and I am definitely glad to be part of the team. I came here because I actually believe that I will get more in the medium-long term from Lotus than anywhere else. The objective is not to be a permanent third driver, but to be back racing. The team has some great people with Tony (Fernandes), Mike (Gascoyne), Riad (Asmat) and Mark (Smith) etc. and I learn from them all the time.

We have made more progress over the last 18 months than the other two new teams, so from that point of view, it's interesting. But like any racing driver wants to race and I am no different.

5) Other than Bruno Senna (Who we know you get along with) who are your other good friends in the paddock?

Well while Bruno is a really good friend of mine I am quite friendly with the Mark (Webber), Jenson (Button) and Heikki (Kovalainen) as well.

6) We all hope you race at the Indian GP! What do you think the chances of Lotus allowing you to race are?

It will be a dream come true for me to drive at the Indian Grand Prix but unfortunately nothing has been confirmed as of now so will just wait and keep my fingers crossed. That’s a question for Tony and not me! To be honest, I don’t care even if it’s made on the 28th morning!!

7) How much will the Indian GP benefit the nation in the motorsport industry - do you think it will inspire budding racers?

Once the F1 race takes place in October, I am confident that the motorsports in the country will get a huge boost from all quarters. The viewership of F1 in India has gone up astronomically in the last 5 years.  I am told there are 27 million viewers of the sport in India and we need only 0.5 per cent of that to fill the circuit's capacity of one lakh and twenty thousand.

For me personally, the Indian GP will help set the platform for targeting to host other events like the MotoGP and various other forms for motorsport which are held every year throughout the world.  Everything in motorsport stems from Formula 1 so if we can make this event a success, I’m sure the results will resonate into the lower Formulas as well and this will give birth to more Indian drivers who will get a chance to fulfil their dream in the future.

8) A few months back you were quoted as saying "But you are not going to find the next Indian star by running events in single-engined four-stroke rental karts on 400 metre tracks made out of concrete." I'm sure everyone understood your frustration as you want Vijay Mallya to at least test Indian drivers at Force India but did you actually say that quote? Aren't motorsport stars always usually born from karting or do you stand by that quote?

I have already stated what I wanted to at that time so that chapter is now closed

9) What does the future hold for you 2012? Will you stay with Team Lotus? What about your prospects further into the future - do you think you could be World champion one day?

At this point I think I have to stay focused on the job at hand and do a good job every time I step into the car. The engineering team has been pretty positive with their feedback about me so far and hopefully I can then turn this into a full time race seat in the future.

You have been commentating a lot recently for BBC Sport and Star Sports during free practices (quite brilliantly might I add) - do you enjoy that role? Is it something you would consider doing when you've retired from racing?

I’ve always said that if I wasn’t a racing driver then I would either be a team manager or a commentator. I enjoyed my previous stint with ESPN-STAR in Asia, Eurosport and Sky Sports and while I’d obviously love to be racing instead, it’s a great opportunity to share my views and knowledge of the sport with millions of people through their television sets. To get so much positive feedback from it has just been the icing on the cake!

Finally; do you have any message for our readers and fans?

Would request all of you to make sure you come and watch the inaugural Indian GP!!

I'm sure you'll agree some of those answers were very interesting indeed! To check out our older interviews please refer to our archive here.

We're delighted to have had this opportunity to interview such a major star and we're planning more major interviews in the future so stick with us here at Auto India Sports ;-)

The sight, sound and smell of an F1 car, experienced for the first time

My F1 experience by Nikhil Pai in Bangalore

It was for the first time I was going to see an F1 car in action in my life and I was (as any F1 fan would be) VERY excited about it. I got the invite for the event as soon as I found out about it and the countdown began.

Reaching the venue, I was mighty impressed by the arrangements made and was eagerly waiting for the time to tick and for the action to begin. I was seated with my friends on the grandstand-type stands which had an amazing view from one end of the road to the other end of the stretch of road.

After a worthwhile wait, Hamilton reached the venue. After a small chat with the host and some interaction with the fans, they rolled out the MP4-23 out of the pit garage. He put on his helmet and got into it. They fired the engines and we counted down in chorus. As soon as the Green lights came on, the car just zipped by us in no time. The sound of the V8 was music to the ears.

He did a few doughnuts, burnouts, slides and few other tricks on the road converted to a track and it was a treat to the eyes and also ears ;) . The smell of rubber burning was amazing too.

After a few minutes in the F1 car, he took a few lucky winners and also 2 famous personalities (Ashok Kheny - MD of the NICE road project, and Rannvijay - VJ of MTV) for few hot-laps in the Mercedes AMG cars.

Due to public demand, they decided to bring back the f1 car onto the tarmac for another round. By this time, the first barricades had been breached. My friends and I got down from the stands and reached the barricade that was closest to the road (track). While Hamilton drove by, the sound of the engines pierced our ears and we could feel the air whipping past us and it was nothing less than a heavenly feeling.

During his performance, he stopped his 2008 F1 car RIGHT in front of us and waved out to us. The car was VERY close to us. I could see him and almost every detail on the car distinctly and this image has been etched into my memory. All of a sudden, he changed the gear and had gone before we could even blink. It took us a few seconds to get out of the dazed state as we had never expected to see it from such a close distance in such a way. After a few more 360's he ended the event by emerging out of the car amidst smoke from the tyres. What a finish that was.

The police and security had a difficult time in managing the over-excited crowd as this was the first time such an event had been organized in Bangalore. The organizers expected a turnout of around 5000 but it has been estimated there were over 40,000 people who came to watch this event.

Lewis was very happy to see such an enthusiastic crowd and didn’t hide his excitement when he was asked about the Inaugural Indian Grand Prix. He said that he finds the crowd in India very Passionate and was wrong when he thought we were passionate only about cricket.

On being asked about the motorsport scene in India, he said, One thing I can see is that people in India love sports. The problem is that there isn’t enough infrastructure in place, unlike in Europe. With the Indian GP coming through, there will be a lot of sponsors coming in and that can help build a good base for youngsters. Youngsters in India should continue having a dream and not let anyone or anything take that away from them."

This was one of the best days of my life and I enjoyed every moment of it. Looking at the number of people that turned up for this event, the Indian Grand Prix is surely going to be a major hit and all the fans, teams and drivers will be very happy and satisfied at the end of it. :)

Hoping to see Narain, Karun and atleast one of the Force India cars on the streets of Bangalore soon; and other cities too ;)

This is my first blog ever, so enjoy and feel free to give feedback! Thanks for reading!! =)

Thank You Thomas, for the pics!

Also, visit our facebook page HERE and get your friends to like it.


Narain speaks

Just a small update, wanted to share this article with you. It's Narain Karthikeyan discussing how the upcoming Indian GP will benefit the country and how he got to where he is today - it's an interested read and quite brief aswell, check it out! =)


Singapore GP, Marina Bay – A night to remember

The spectacular only night race on the calendar was indeed a night to remember for all the fans. The glitz & glamour that the weekend brings along with roaring engines is worth a watch. The race was a great example of strategy, over-takes, small mistakes. Sebastian Vettel inched closer to his second title, after we started on pole and finished as the winner (just needs one point to win the title). He was followed by Button at P2 whose superb form continues and Webber at P3.

Here is the detailed report of the whole weekend:

The morning session or in this case the afternoon session had a delayed start due to loose kerbs on various turns. After 30 minutes of wait the cars finally roared out in the fading light. The weather remained dry, it was hot and humid as usual. The session was red flagged twice, first when again Kovalianen’s car caught fire, this time due to brake issue and secondly when Massa ran wide and dislodged one of the kerbs. In the end, it was Hamilton who topped the time-sheets with Vettel & Webber behind. Both the Force Indians had a good start with Sutil ending at P7 & Di Resta at P9. Karthikeyan was back behind his HRT car in preparation to Indian GP, he finished at P24.

The first proper session which began under the lights, I must say the over-view of the track under lights looks pretty awesome. The session was relatively uneventful but towards the end Buemi trying all his might to get a decent lap, brushed the wall which ended his session. By the end, as per the normal routine Vettel ended as P1, with Alonso behind him & Hamilton behind Alsono. Again, the Force India showed a competitive car as Sutil ended at P7 & Di Resta at P13. Di Resta sat out for most part of the session as the team repaired his car after some hydraulics issue popped up.

Another day, it was supposed to be a wet day but as we all know it’s stupid to depend on weather prediction. The session went off quite well without any accidents as the team took a cautious approach before Qualifying. This time it was Webber who ended at P1 with Button at P2and Vettel at P3. Both the Force Indians did well again, with Sutil ending at P10 & Di Resta at P13.

After all the session it was all looking that RBR will continue with their qualifying top performance. Perhaps all battle would be for maybe P2 & P3. As for Force India, I was very happy with the times as normally they haven’t done that well in Singapore but double Q3 was well within reach.

Lights were on, all set for the qualifying to begin. The main aim as usual was o go through to Q2 though all knew that 6 of the 7 places were fixed with only place where a mid-field team could go out. This time it was Petrov who bowed out of Q1, I was surprised a bit, ironically his team-mate Senna set the time to kick Petrov out. The rest were all the drivers from the new team, though all qualified under 107% rule. The session was topped by Vettel followed by Button & Hamilton. Both the Force Indians comfortably made it through to Q2.

The remaining 17 cars looked to book their place in the top 10 and Singapore being a street circuit, qualifying in top 10 meant all the more important. There was a brief red flag in the session when Kobayashi flew over a kerb and hit the wall, his session ended there and then. By the end of the session, it was once again Vettel on top with Button 7 Webber behind him. For Force India it was a great session, as I was expecting both the cars made it to Q3 for the first time in the season and first time since Canada 2010. Paul had to fend off Perez who pushed him at P11 but Paul improved on his last lap and pushed Perez off.

This session was mainly a Vettel VS the rest battle as he was untouchable, even his team-mate Webber fell a bit short. Yes, for the 11th time this season Vettel rose and got the pole position, 14th consecutive time for the Red Bull’s. Behind him was his team-mate Webber at P2 & Button at P3. Both the Force Indians & Schumacher chose not to run in order to save tyres, perhaps a wise choice looking ahead for the race. An interesting line-up as it was RBR-RBR, McL-McL, Fer-Fer, Merc-Merc & FI-FI, all team-mates side by side in the top 10.

I was overly satisfied by the performance of Force India as they managed to get to Q3, they have come a long way from where they were at the start, for the race the expectation was same a double point finish. As for the winner, it was all the same Vettel to come as a winner with a battle for the P2 and so on.

The lights just lit up the track, it was looking beautiful. This is the 4th year of the race and this has already become team’s, fan’s & driver’s one of the favorite track. The weather remained dry, and on top of that it was hot & humid. The start went fairly well, with not much accidents or run-offs. Vettel took the lead soon, only looser was Hamilton who went quite a back. Both Force India made a decent start staying among the points. Then came the move from Hamilton over Massa which created loads of headlines post race. Both lost places, to the extent Hamilton got a drive-through penalty as well.

The pit stops begun, to everyone’s surprise Di Resta was at P3 and was running well but soon had to give off and go in for the tyre change. From then on the race went smoothly, both Force India were running in points, possible double point finish was looking all the more. The move of the day was when Webber passed Alonso, sort of a repeat of Spa. Singapore GP and no Safety Car? I cannot happen, yes the SC was out when Schumacher touched Perez at the back and flew off and crashed on the wall. He admitted his mistake post race. This SC changed the complexion of the race. The SC helped Di Resta to get to P5 while Sutil was at P7, a double point was pretty much fixed for the team barring they make any mistake.

SC went in and the race began, Vettel started to get a comfortable lead but Button had other ideas who was fighting hard to get close to him. Hamilton was charging up the field as he passed Perez, Sutil, Rosberg & Di Resta to get to P5. The post SC, race went smoothly with not many incidents but there some great over-taking moves with and without the help of DRS. In the end it was Vettel who drove well from start to the end finished as the winner with yet another superb drive from Button behind him and Webber behind Button. Alonso was the best of Ferrari at P4. Both Force Indian finished in points, there first double finish since Australia 2011 with Di Resta achieving his career best P6 & Sutil at P8, 12 points in the bag.

I was very-very happy with Force India’s performance, good run in the Practice session then a double Q3 and finishing off with a double point finish, nothing more to ask for. A lead of 12 points from Sauber and 22 points behind a struggling Lotus Renault, gives us an exciting CC battle for P5-P6-P7. Even in DC, Sutil is closing in to the Top 10 with Di Resta not behind by much. As for the battle for the top, Red Bull are certain to clinch the CC while Vettel just a point away from clinching the DC. Only battle is to watch for the P2 position in both the championship. Next up is Japan, Suzuka in two weeks time where we may see Red Bull & Vettel clinching the top title for second time in a row.

Also, guys we have got an exclusive interview with a racing driver. We need 175 Likes on our Facebook page for us to post it for you, help us to get there.

Indian GP Scam - BEWARE!

If your planning on buying Indian GP tickets please read this article before you do so - very important, we don't want any of our readers to be scammed.

Karun in the news

Karun Chandhok has been in the news alot lately, mainly due to the excitement surrounding the Indian GP and today was no different.

Firstly he has been selected to promote the Motor Match event, read more here.

After this it was announced that he would star in the latest Jeremy Clarkson DVD. Read more on that story here.

Busy times for the popular Indian driver!


JK Racing Asia Series Race 3 & 4 - Marina Bay

Race One Result: Bharath DNF.
Race Two Result: Bharath 7th (4points).

These two races were support races to the F1 race weekend and Indian Raj Bharath had a mixed round.

One DNF and one 7th place means he scores 4points this weekend. Raj remains 14th in the drivers championship but has closed the gap to Andrey Khrapov in 13th place.

There are only six races left to go; all of them at the Buddh International Circuit. Raj will be hoping his results can improve at his home races!

We have updated our championship page here so to see full standings simply click the link =)

Catching Renault/Indian GP update

Paul Di Resta has spoken to autosport.com and said in a promisingly optimistic interview that he believes the fight with Renault is on. P5 is possible in the constructors championship! =) Read the full interview here.

Meanwhile in other news, Karun Chandhok posted some more latest pictures of the Buddh International Circuit on his facebook page. They can be viewed here.


Singapore GP - Points analysis

The official review quotes are now online here.

As we are now getting to the end of the season we need to analyse the points situation.

Force India need to attack (Renault, P5) and defend (Sauber, P7 and Toro Rosso, P8) in equal measure.

Going into Singapore the defence strategy was quite simple: outscore Sauber and Toro Rosso. The attack strategy was a little more complicated. With six races to go (before today's race) Force India were trailing Renault by 34pts. So 34points divided by six races (34/6) = 5.66. This means that in order to catch Renault, Force India need to outscore them by 5.66points in each race.

So to sum up the team had two objectives:

1) Outscore Sauber and Toro Rosso.
2) Outscore Renault by 5.66points each race.

This is how Force India and their rivals scored during the Singapore GP:

Force India: 12pts (6th & 8th)
Sauber: 1pt (10th & 14th)
Toro Rosso: 0pts (12th & 21st)
Renault: 0pts (15th & 17th)

Clearly both objectives were met. Force India did outscore Sauber and Toro Rosso; plus they managed to outscore Renault by 12pts!

Force India are now just 22pts behind Renault. This means the attack objective has now changed. 22pts divided by 5 races (22/5) = 4.4

Outscoring Renault by 4.4pts per race is the new target.

Clearly the team will aim for as many points as possible; i just wanted to analyse the figures to show just how good of an effort the team made today and how much it has helped in terms of the championship.

Check back in a few days time for the weekend review with Darshan Chokhani!

Singapore GP - Race Results

Results: Di Resta 6th (8points), Sutil 8th (4points).

What a brilliant race for Force India!! 12points scored which is the most of any team after Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari - great job!!

The Force India boys split the cars on strategy and it actually worked out amazingly well for both cars (although Di Resta's strategy of a long first stint on the harder tyres worked best).

Both drivers showed good teamwork during the race as well as being very fast as on lap 27 Adrian let Paul through who was quicker at the time.

Towards the end of the race Di Resta was in a safe 6th place but behind him there was an almighty battle! Rosberg (7th) being caught by Sutil (8th) being caught by Perez (9th) being caught very quickly (5seconds per lap) by Massa (10th, on quicker tyres).

Massa would sneak pass Perez but didn't quite have enough to pass Adrian; the gap across the line was just 0.3seconds. Adrian also finished just 0.3seconds behind Rosberg.

6th position is Paul's best ever finish and given that he'd never driven around Singapore before this weekend, plus he missed alot of Friday running he was simply supurb. Also 12points is the best points haul in a single race for Force India this season.

This race was a brilliant combination of fast driving and fantastic teamwork, not just from the drivers but every member of the team - we're very proud of them all!

We'll have in-depth points analysis coming in the next few hours so keep an eye out for that =)

Singapore GP - Pre Race!

So, it's raceday! Adrian will start P9, Di Resta P10.

As for the rivals chasing us (Sauber): Perez will start P11, Kobayashi P17.As for the rivals we are chasing (Renault): Senna will start 15th, Petrov 18th.

So clearly we are in the best position going into this race; there is a good chance of a double points finish and closing in on Renault.

However there are a few pitfalls the team need to be wary of. Quite bizarrely the Singapore grid has rows 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11 and 12 all with teammates side by side. Considering the width of the Marina Bay track the drivers need to be wary of avoiding their teammate at all costs. Furthermore the turn ten chicane (named the Singapore sling) is very tight ... there is no way you can get two cars side by side through there so that's one of the danger zones at the beginning of the race. Infact, it's pretty much a danger zone for the whole race as we saw Kobayashi fly through the air and into the wall yesterday - it's easily done.

Also rain is a threat which just makes the possibility of hitting the barriers even greater. Plus the Singapore GP has never seen rain before - there is a worry among the drivers that the bright lighting may reflect off standing water and cause viability issues. That remains to be seen.

So to sum up the potential is there for a very good result indeed - especially if the guys ahead of us of issues. But the drivers need to be very cautiously aggressive; one mistake and the race could be over.

Elsewhere there has been plenty of news springing up since qualifying, here are all the links you need:

Official post qualifying quotes: here.
Very interesting interview with Vijay Mallya: here.
Force India driver defend Q3 tactics: here.
Karthikeyan discusses his race weekend: here.

As always we wish Force India the very best of luck; we're all rooting for them =D


Singapore GP - Qualifying Results

Results: Sutil 9th (No time set), Di Resta 10th (No time set).

Well, a great effort from the Force India drivers! Both got into Q3, brilliant stuff! =D

They both elected to not set laptimes in Q3 which isn't particularly good for the fans but they are using the regulations to their advantage - saving tyres for the race and having a free tyre choice tomorrow. Schumacher also did not set a laptime in Q3 so the order is based on Q2 times hence Sutil 9th, Di Resta 10th.

The two Force India drivers need to make sure they avoid eachother tomorrow, especially at the very tight turn ten ... there simply isn't room for two cars side by side there. But if they can avoid contact in the first few laps they should both score points tomorrow =)

It's a very interesting grid, they line up two by two:-

Row 1: Red Bull's
Row 2: McLaren's
Row 3: Ferrari's
Row 4: Mercedes'
Row 5: Force India's

With the added threat of rain tomorrows race can not come quick enough =)

Singapore GP - Practice Three Results

Results: Sutil 10th (1:49.304), Di Resta 13th (1:49.816).

Once again a solid session for the Force India boys. Although the laptime wasn't there, both drivers were compromised on their quick laps either through traffic or mistakes, but practice is where these things should happen anyway, it's nothing to worry about.

Given what we've seen so far in practice though the team look in a very promising position to get at least one, if not both cars in Q3/the points this weekend.

We wish them the best of luck! =)


Singapore GP - Friday Sweep Up

The official review quotes from today's sessions are now online here.

Furthermore, Paul Di Resta has been talking to autosport.com and said the following:

"If anywhere was crucial to get laps, it is around here, but in Monaco, I lost FP2 with a gearbox problem and still qualified in front of Adrian. It's not going to be an easy task, but you have to deal with these situations. The guys worked hard try and get the car out in time so big credit to them for doing that in this heat. In general, our performance isn't too bad. We've shown strongly for how limited the time I've had here is. Adrian showed the car pace, but I can't say much more than that. I have no tyre wear data and no idea of the balance for the start of the race. I've just got to go with the baseline setup tomorrow morning. I've got an idea of the track. It's very technical and there's a lot to it. It's about building confidence as, like Monaco, there's not much room for error and you have to get close tot he walls to get the maximum from the car."

Let's all hope Paul can turn his weekend around tomorrow! =)

In other news, the guys who control the "Jaypee Sports International Limited" facebook account posted this picture of the start/finish straight at the Buddh International Circuit:

(click to enlarge)

Doesn't it look awesome?! Actually looking like a proper circuit now ... we can't wait =D

Singapore GP - Practice Two Results

Results: Sutil 7th (1:48.866), Di Resta 13th (1:50.345).
A mixed session for the Force India boys ...

Adrian completed the most laps of any driver after Sebastian Vettel and showed good solid consistency with his second 7th place of the weekend - solid points look very possible for him! I wouldn't be surprised if he manages to grab a top five finish this weekend ... given the amount of incidents we have seen in today's free practice sessions something tells me it will be a crazy race.

Meanwhile Paul was out of his car for most of the session as he had a brake issue associated with the hydraulics. However the mechanics did a great job to get Paul out for one run on the faster super soft tyre at the end of the session. With that lap he could only manage 13th but that's understandable given his lack of running.

One other thing to note, down at HRT, Liuzzi was 4tenths slower than teammate Ricciardo in that session. This morning Karthikeyan was just 1tenth slower than Ricciardo ... who do we think should be in that car really? Food for thought i guess!

Win a Force India racesuit!

In celebration of the release of the new F1 2011 game the developers, codemasters, are running a competition on their facebook page to win a Force India racesuit!

More info here.

Singapore GP - Practice One Results

Results: Sutil 7th (1:52.251), Di Resta 9th (1:52.435), Karthikeyan 24th (1:59.214).

So F1 is back in action this weekend at Singapore with Force India looking to stay ahead of Sauber in the constructors championship (currently they are ahead of the Swiss team by one point)

Well the drama started immediately as the session was delayed by 30minutes so track repairs could be carried out after curbing problems and oil spills in a support race. This meant that running was reduced to just one hour.

From then on in the session didn't go very smoothly with two red flags due to a small fire and more curbing problems - nevertheless the two Force India drivers and Karthikeyan managed to not have any real issues and all three drivers had a solid session.

7th and 9th for the Force India's - promising at this stage whereas Karthikeyan was just 1tenth of a second slower than teammate Ricciardo; that's a very good effort considering the Indian has not driven for a while!

Looking forward to FP2 =)


It's interview time!

We've been working very hard here at Auto India Sports and we have managed to bag you guys another interview!

Who is it with? Well at this stage all we're going to tell you is that it's with a racing driver. But it is a pretty big interview and you guys should be very excited!

As always we're going to make you work to unlock the interview so the deal is - get out facebook "like count" upto 175 people by suggesting our page to your friends and we will post the interview.

Currently we have 148 likes; that's just 27 more to go! Trust me, it will be worth the effort ;-)

Force India news!

Force India personnel have being talking to the media so we'll try some up their thoughts.

Firstly the relief for Force India fans is that Adrian Sutil did not visit the Williams factory, that story just turned out to be a rumor thankfully!

About his future he stated: "The team is very good here; it is doing a good performance. I know the team for a long time, so whatever I do I have to think twice if it is a good next step. The top teams are all closed anyway, the top four, so maybe there is no reason to change. I am just concentrated on my race, and see where it goes. I have no plans. The team wants wait until December and they don't want to tell who will be in the seat, otherwise they wouldn't wait so long. Whatever I do now, I have to be fast and I have to score some points. Then hopefully it is enough for them to say yes, he deserves another year with us, or not. If I do my races as I can, as good as possible, then I will get a seat."

Meanwhile on the subject of the constructors battle Adrian had this to say: "It is tight, so we have to push on. We have the better car in qualifying, but Sauber still looks quite strong in the race. That equals it all out a little bit. We have no reason to relax because it is so close. We are one point ahead at the moment, so have to keep pushing to the end."

Di Resta also had his say: "Last year, the team was fighting all season to get sixth place and lost it by a point, it would be rather harsh if that happened again. We were the chasing ones and now we have caught up and overtaken. We have shown good performance, although Sauber were strong in Monza until the cars stopped. We know that this is going to be a fight all the way. Some cars seem to work some places and some don't. But we have changed our car philosophy, and it's a philosophy that has got us a lot of points this year and which will work better on the tracks coming up from now."

Paul makes an interesting point, last season we finished just one point behind Williams for 6th. This season we are one point ahead of Sauber in the battle for 6th - so progression has been made.

The official preview quotes for the Singapore GP are now online here.


JK Racing Asia Series Prize!

Team Lotus reserve driver Karun Chandhok announced this on twitter:

"Very proud to announce that the Champion of my pet project, the 'JK Racing Asia Series' will get a GP2 test with Caterham-Team Air Asia !!! The GP2 test is another great way for @tonyfernandes and JK Tyre to support Asian talent in sport !"

Good news for whoever wins the series. Currently there is only one Indian in the JK Racing Asia Series, Raj Bharath, however he has struggled to get to grips with the car and is not in contention to win it. Championship standings can be viewed here.


Just a brief update to let you know that the latest pictures of the Indian GP track can be viewed in an album here. Well worth looking at! =D

Zaamin Jaffer Added

We've added a new driver to our database!

21 year old Zaamin Jaffer has been added to our website. Check out the updated supported drivers page here.

Zaamin is currently racing the in BARC Formula Renault and he's doing quite well with a comfortable 10th place in the championship with just two races to go. Full championship standings can be seen here.

Previous honours for Zaamin include three British Formula Ford Scholarship Class podiums and a test in Formula BMW. You can read more about him on his official website here.

The latest news for for the young driver is that he will be on track during the Indian GP weekend. Zaamin will take part in the MRF International Challenge, a support race during the Indian GP weekend - great news for him! =)


News sweep up!

Lots of things to share with you guys so we're gonna try pool everything into one article.

First off we start with Karun Chandhok. It has been announced that he will take part in the Amber Lounge Fashion Show at the Singapore Grand Prix. It's just a bit of fun and most teams have their reserve driver taking part for promotional purposes ... I'm sure Karun would much rather be on the track though!

Next up ESPN have quoted Adrian Sutil's manager Manfred Zimmermann saying: "our first choice for 2012 is Force India". Good news for Force India fans, it's always a great sign for the team when drivers are fighting over race seats - it means the car must be good! Force India say they will announce their 2012 lineup in December.

Staying with Force India, the finals of the OFAB (one from a billion) academy have taken place in Goa and from the thousands that entered just ten drivers remain. These drivers will now travel to Silverstone with Force India to see which of them have a real talent and which could be the next Indian motorsport star. One of the drivers we have been following, Parth Ghorpade, has made it into that top ten and was one of the quickest in Goa.

During those finals Force India deputy team principle Robert Fernley and driver Nico Hulkenberg travelled out to Goa to show their support for the scheme. Below is a picture tweeted by Nico of him with the drivers that made it into the last 26.

(click to enlarge)

Those lucky 26 drivers got to drive around the Goa track in a two seater kart with Nico at the wheel, that must have been a fantastic experience!

Finally, one of the unofficial twitter accounts of the Indian GP has uploaded some great latest pictures of the Indian GP track! You can view them here.


Buses, buses and more buses!

Just a quick update to those have you that have not yet heard ... Indian GP organsiers have hired 800 shuttle buses to try and make transportation to and from the Noida venue run as smoothly as possible. This news pleased me as it shows the organisers dedication to make the event World class.

Currently 30,000 tickets have been sold =)

Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup - Oschersleben

Race one results: Patel 9th (24points), Bolisetti 21st.
Race two results: Patel 1st (60points), Bolisetti 18th (6points).

Race one was a disappointment for both Indian drivers. Only 9th place for Patel having started 7th and Bolisetti was the last classified runner in 21st place, just out of the points.

Nevertheless both drivers were hopeful of a better time in race two and they were right to be optimistic!

It was a crazy race in wet conditions with drivers passing eachother and making mistakes allover the place and our very own Aditya Patel was leading the race for a long time until he was passed by Daniel Lloyd and Ola Nilsson, pushing the Indian down to third. Infact Aditya was struggling to hold onto that third place coming under immense pressure from Moritz Oestreich in 4th.

Although other drivers appeared to be faster than Patel in the wet conditions it was Patel who was the one who was controlling his speed as both Lloyd and Nilsson who had earlier passed him span their cars on the slippery track putting Patel back into the lead.

From then on he was able to control the race and take his first win of the season in the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup!

A great drive by Aditya Patel - he was able to keep his cool under pressure, stay out of trouble and win in remarkable fashion.

Elsewhere in race two Bolisetti had a respectable race finishing 18th and bagging 6points.

In the championship Patel remains in 5th place but has drastically closed the gap to the guys ahead of him. With one race to go his aim will be to snatch 3rd place in what is a very tight battle. Meanwhile Bolisetti dropped one place to 16th - his aim will be to break the 100points barrier this season. To view the championship standings simply click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.

It's going to be a fantastic finale to the season in October and as always we'll bring you all the news right here! =)


Must read!

There is a MUST READ article online here.

It's all about how F1 became to exist within India and it is brilliantly written!

Enjoy :-)

Sutil tours Williams!

There is a story online here about Kimi Raikkonen and current Force India star Adrian Sutil touring the Williams F1 factory recently.

As such we can imagine that alarm bells are ringing in the ears of Force India fans however it really is nothing to worry about at this stage. During "silly season", where drivers are negotiating contracts, drivers often talk to other teams purely to increase speculation and try get a higher wage for the following season - it doesn't necessarily mean they are interested in moving.

It has even been known in the past for drivers to lie about other teams wanting them so their current team increases their wage the following season.

So to sum up, don't worry just yet ;-)

Various Stuff!

Teams are making their preparations for the upcoming Indian GP, infact for before the Indian GP - both McLaren and Red Bull have announced promotional events.

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton will drive the McLaren show car down NICE road in Bangalore on the 27th September whereas Red Bull's/HRT's Daniel Ricciardo will drive the Red Bull show car on the Rajpath on 1st October.

In other news HRT has officially confirmed Narain to race at the Indian GP and he will also take part in FP1 in Singapore.

Elsewhere the qualifying session in the 'one from a Billion' Force India Academy was completed today and it was nice to see the young driver we follow, Parth Ghorpade, topping the timesheets =)


Force India Tests/OFAB

Some surprising news coming out from the team is that yesterday is that Max Chilton (who races in GP2) did a straight line aero test for the team at Kemble airfield in the UK (Williams and Lotus also did tests there this week). Chilton was drafted in as our three main drivers were all unavailable.

Force India's race support engineer; Oliver Knighton said "We were able to record the important aero data, which we will analyse over the next few days. I'd like to say a special thank you to Max, who enjoyed his first taste of an F1 car today. He prepared himself very well and adapted quickly to the procedures and systems on the car, all of which allowed us to make good progress with the programme."

In other news, the finals of the Force India 'one from a billion academy' started today with free practice in Goa. We wish all the drivers good luck especially Parth Ghorpade who we have been following for a while now.


F1 Rocks - Metallica & Indian GP

Here we have some rocking news for all you rock fans. Along with the roar of the F1 cars, you will also get to hear the heavy metal music of the famous International band Metallica during the Indian GP weekend. Yes, for the first very first time the band will be performing in the Indian soil and this is what they had to say, "We are so excited to be playing a show in a place we never thought in our wildest dreams we'd get to play. It's a honour for all of us that we get to be a part of that whole music scene as a metal band sharing our music with fans in India at this incredible concert!" The event will take place at Leisure Valley Ground, Sector 29, Gurgaon, New Delhi on Friday 28th October, 2011 i.e during the first day of the weekend. For fans watching at home, don't worry MTV India will broadcast the show with some documentaries as well. Click here for more information about the F1 Rocks program. 

Have you all "Liked" the Official Facebook page of the Indian Grand Prix? If not then click here and "Like" it now. Also, have you followed their Official Twitter page? If not then click here and "Follow" them now.

Various bits and bobs!

I'm not getting any rest am i? More and more news everyday!! =D

Firstly Kingfisher have launched a competition called "Feel The Force" where you select a dream team and score points based on real life F1 performances. It's a bit complicated to sign up as you have to register for King Club first and then register for the game itself but nevertheless here is the link =)

Elsewhere, Karun Chandhok has had an article published in the Hindustan Times which is well worth a read! You can view it here.

There are also unconfirmed reports swirling around that young Indian Armaan Ebrahim has signed a deal to race in the US next season - more on that story when we get it =)

Okay, that's all for now! Thanks for reading =)


More Force India news!

The Force India Italian GP podcast is now out and available to listen to here. It's well worth listening to; there is time spent talking to all three of our drivers, an insight into driver racesuits and also a brief discussion with Vijay Mallya where i learnt something very surprising!

In that podcast Nico Hulkenberg said he will try and tweet more and that's exactly what he's been doing! Aswell as the tweet we posted about earlier he also later said this: "hope I can race with Force India but the Team will decide it not before Dec so i must wait" - we thought you might find that interesting. His twitter account is @NicoHulkenberg.

That's all for now from us.

Hulkenberg to miss Singapore GP

Force India reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg will not take part in FP1 at the next F1 race in Singapore.

Usually the team let Nico contest FP1 so he stays sharp but at the next race they have decided against it.

Nico tweeted: "I will not drive in FP1 in Singapore cause the team wants to give Adrian and Paul more track time and i understand and accept the Decision".

Obviously he will be disappointed but it's a wise decision by Force India management as Singapore is a tricky track - one mistake and your in the barriers so the race drivers need as much practice as possible.


Italian GP, Monza – Legends drive

The race delivered what we were expecting, a crashing start, great battles, some excellent over-taking moves, retirements and what not. The Italian GP marked an end to the European leg of the season and it was a befitting end. Vettel started from pole yet again and finished the race as the winner with Button at P2 and Alonso at P3 giving some cheer for the tifosi’s. The weather remained dry throughout the weekend which was good to see after so many rain affected races.

Here is the detailed report of the whole weekend:

A dry and hot weather welcomed the teams and drivers to Monza. There was not much to talk about during the session as all went smoothly for the teams, there were some spins and stops but it was relatively uneventful session. Hamilton ended at P1 at the end of the session with his team-mate behind at P2 and Vettel at P3. Force India as expected looked good from the onset with Sutil ending at P5 and Hulkenberg at P12. Chandhok got another chance in his Team Lotus car, his first dry run where he ended at P20.

The hot and humid weather continued as the teams and drivers too continued with there programs and set-up. Another uneventful session for the teams as they got enough data’s for qualifying and race. Vettel piped Hamilton to end as the front runner by the end of the session with Schumacher behind them. Force India had a decent outing as Sutil ended at P12 and Di Resta at P13, however both felt the pace was a bit down.

A new day but the weather remained hot. All the Friday’s data must have been analyzed and improvements would have been duly made. Vettel continued his last practice performance ending at P1 with his team-mate Webber behind him and Massa at P3. Force India looked good and strong, with Sutil ending at P9 and Di Resta P10, they were hoping to make it to Q3 in qualifying.

Assessing the practice session, I think Force India had a good chance to make it to Q3, if not both the cars atleast one could have. They were a bit off pace but were still looking good. As for the top battles, Red Bull once again dominated (the circuit where they haven’t fared well) and were set to snatch the pole position again.

It was fairly a smooth start to the first session of the qualifying. The teams venturing out to secure there places in the Top 17 in order to get to Q2. It’s an easy task for the top teams, a bit tough for the mid-field and very tough for the back teams. Hamilton ended the session at P1. Both the Force Indian made it to Q2 easily. Alguersuari and the rest of the new team’s drivers bowed out of the session. Though all made it under the 107% time and were safe to race.

The second session of the qualifying is always a tricky one for the mid-field teams and the lower top field with all eyeing for the spot between P5-P10 in order to get through to Q3. Vettel sprung back to the top as the RBR was looking strong. Unfortunately, both the Force Indian bowed out of the session. Di Resta was very close to making it to Q3 but a late surge from Senna knocked him out of Q3, thus he ended at P11 ahead of his team- mate Sutil at P12.

The top five in CC reached the final leg of qualifying. Ferrari were the first to come out and use the advantage of slipstream with Massa leading and Alonso behind him. But nothing could stop the mighty Vettel (who had a clear half a second gap to Hamilton) and Red Bull, yes for the 13th time Red Bull snatched the pole position, this time it was Vettel at pole with Hamilton at P2 and his team-mate Button at P3. Home team Ferrari managed P4 (Alonso) & Massa (P6). Only Senna didn’t set anytime.

Well, after the qualifying it was evident that Red Bull is just unbeatable, they overcame all odds and qualified at P1 on a circuit which doesn’t suit their car normally. As for Force India, they had a decent qualifying. Though I expected one car to be in Q3 but nevertheless the competition was too much and P11 & P12 is all they could have got, points were surely possible.

Wasn’t the start we all fans were waiting for? Ok, this was a bit too much but deep inside we were missing those mayhem starts. As the race began, we saw one the HRT of Daniel stalled at the grid while the other one of Liuzzi trying to get up the field, he even got up but then lost control as he was pushed to the grass and slid across the grass and rammed into the cars of Rosberg and Petrov, resulting in DNF’s for all of them. Rubens got stuck in this melee, as was Kobayashi, while the others managed to get away with perhaps little damage. Safety Car was out straightaway. In all this we forgot the start which Alonso got, squeezed Hamilton & Vettel to get ahead but he couldn’t hold for long as Vettel overtook him just after SC came in, in one of a superb and aggressive moves.

Behind them the battle between the legends Schumacher, Hamilton, Button raged on and they closed him to Alonso pretty soon. It was absolute a treat to watch them battle so fiercely yet no mistakes. Button took the advantage and took both his team-mate Hamilton & Schumi in one move, later on Hamilton overtook Schumi as well. As for Force India, Di Resta was saved by cutting through a chicane in the first corner melee, and got to P8 position while Sutil had some problems in getting away from the mess, perhaps damaged some parts of his car and soon he had to stall and retire (his only 2nd DNF), later it was said it was a power steering problem.

Meanwhile, Vettel started to get away from the field as Button was too far back to get close to him. The biggest gainer we could see was Alguersuari who was doing a pretty good job. The race went smoothly since the mid-laps with some good overtaking moves and curtailed racing. By the end, it was clear that Vettel will get another win under his belt and stretch his lead to that position where it will be impossible for him to loose the title. Button finished behind him, another P2 for him and behind him with some cheer for tifosi fans Alonso at P3. Di Resta brought home his Force India car at P8, 4 vital points ahead of a challenging Senna. Paul had a tough race to deal with but he hung on. There were 8 DNF’s, most this season and one Not Classified that of Ricciardo.

Italian GP, marked the end of the European leg of the season. The last part will have 5 Asian races, including the Indian GP and the last race being held in Brazil. Red Bull certainly will wrap up the Constructor’s Championship pretty soon and the Driver’s Championship too as it all Vettel’s now. As for Force India, with the 4 points they get ahead of Sauber by one point in the CC (Sauber’s double DNF’s helped as well). I hope they hang on to the P6 position but surely it will be tough for the team as both Sauber & STR are looking strong. Next up will be the only night race in the calendar, yes it’s the Singapore GP..!!

Auction update!

A few days ago we posted an article (here) about an on-going charitable F1 auction. It's still on-going and we thought we'd give you an update:

Item image

Item image
Currently: £77.00 (Rs.5,788)

Since we wrote that article a new lot has been added that might be of interest:

Item image
Currently: £64.00 (Rs.4,811)

If you would like to place a bid and check out the other items for sale please visit the auction website here - it's for a good cause! =)

Karun in FHM!

Karun Chandhok's brother Suhail Chandhok tweeted a picture which can be found here of a two page spread in this month's FHM India magazine all about Karun.

We recommend you give it a read if you can get hold of a copy of the magazine! =)

Competition Time!

There is an interesting competition on the Indian GP facebook page where you could win tickets to this years Grand Prix!

They are asking people to design a logo for the Buddh International Circuit which seems rather odd given that they already have one:

Nevertheless that's the competition and it will be great for three lucky fans! More details here.


Fernandes: I want Chandhok to race in India!

Team Lotus boss Tony Fernandes has stated that he wants Karun Chandhok to race in India but the team have yet to make a collective decision.

Check out the quotes from him on autosport.com here.

Narain Karthikeyan has already been confirmed as racing at the Indian GP so at the very least there will be one Indian driver at the first ever Indian GP =)

Italian GP - Clear up!

Just a few pieces of info from the Italian GP to clear up.

The review quotes have been published and are available to read here. Paul Di Resta, Adrian Sutil and Vijay Mallya all have their say on what was an eventful race.

Elsewhere there has been some confusion about Adrian Sutil's retirement. Adrian pulled off the track on lap nine to retire from the race and the team had originally thought he had a hydraulic issue based on the telemetry, however upon closer inspection when the car was return to the pit lane it was actually diagnosed as an issue with the steering so not a hydraulic problem as first thought.

Finally we have updated our championship standings page here - nice to see Force India in 6th place!

That's all for now - thanks for reading! =)


Italian GP - Race Results

Results: Di Resta 8th (4points), Sutil DNF.

Well the start of the race was more eventful than we expected it to be and it was a mixed start for the Force India drivers.

Both Paul and Adrian had very poor starts off the line, but so did everyone else around them - it was quite bizarre! Anyway down at turn one Liuzzi skimmed the side of another car, flew across the grass and caused mayhem inbetween turns one and two - Di Resta benefited from the chaos by cutting the chicane, Sutil was hindered as he had to avoid the incident.

I think Sutil picked up some damage (although Adrian himself says he had no damage) in the
disorder at turn one as from then on in his pace wasn't brilliant and he would eventually retire on lap nine with what at first was thought to be a hydraulic problem but it turned out to be a steering issue after analysis. That's only Force India's 3rd retirement of the season which is very impressive!

Di Resta also appeared to struggle in the first stint (getting held up by the Massa/Webber collision didn't help) but he made an early stop, bolted on a new set of soft tyres and flew threw the field getting into the top ten very quickly- he still had one more stop to make for his mandatory hard tyre stint but at that point the other cars around him also had to stop again and from then on everything worked out for the Scottish driver and he grabbed 4points for the team with a great 8th place!

Force India have now moved up to 6th place in the constructors championship, 1point ahead of Sauber. It is important the team now begins to build that gap up and maybe even chase Renault - we're only 34points behind them so it is possible but it will be very difficult!

Watch out for Darshan Chokhani's full weekend review in the next few days; thanks for reading! =)

Kingfisher competition!

Kingfisher are running a fantasy competition online where there are some great prizes including a trip to the Indian GP with flights included!

I highly recommend you check it out by visiting the website here =)


Italian GP - Post Qualifying

The post qualifying quotes are out from Paul Di Resta, Adrian Sutil and Vijay Mallya on the F1 website here.

Both drivers appear upbeat and hopeful for tomorrow which is good news; although i found it interesting that Adrian said "the big question is whether to stop once or twice" - it was my understanding that teams were deliberating between two or three stops, not one or two, but let's see =)

In other news, Sebastian Vettel has had his say about the Indian GP, he stated: "I am looking forward to it. I haven't seen much of the circuit yet. But I heard it should be quite spectacular. A lot of uphill and downhill as well, more than we expect. I have never been to India so am looking forward to it. I hope that all of us we manage to spend most of the time on the track doing what we usually do and not in the restrooms as I heard some funny stories. I hope we put the circuit on fire, nothing else."

Making jokes as ever but it's good to know he's looking forward to it =)

Italian GP - Qualifying Results

Results: Di Resta 11th (1:24.163), Sutil 11th (1:24.209).

Not a bad session for Force India! The team had expected to be inside the top 10 but starting just outside in 11th and 12th is not a problem at all as they can now choose their tyres for the race whereas those inside the top ten have to start with the tyres they qualified on.

Paul Di Resta was very unlucky not to not to grab 10th actually; he got knocked out at the end of Q2 by Bruno Senna who was just 0.06seconds quicker! The difference was that Senna had a slipstream from Hamilton on his quick lap according to the Force India radio transmission.

Nevertheless, the team are in a good position for tomorrow and they do usually start very well so if they can avoid any first lap incidents a double points finish is on the cards. Based on the practice sessions yesterday the race pace of Force India and Renault is very simmilar - almost identical! This means that if our two cars can get past Senna at the start we should be able to stay ahead of him =)

It's going to be an exciting race for sure! Can't wait! =D

Italian GP - Practice Three Results

Results: Sutil 9th (1:24.543), Di Resta 10th (1:24.581).

Once again an impressive session for Force India with both cars inside in top ten. Infact they were quite comfortably the fifth best team ... Alonso was 8th 0.4seconds ahead of Sutil and Senna was 11th 0.3seconds behind Di Resta.

So all in all it looks like qualifying will be a very lonely session for the Force India's ... if there are no problems the two cars should qualify 9th and 10th which would be very good indeed!

We wish the team the best of luck =D


Little drops of info!

We just wanted to clear up a few things that we have not yet mentioned on our blog.

Firstly the review quotes are now on the F1 website here - Adrian Sutil, Paul Di Resta, Nico Hulkenberg, Dominic Harlow and Karun Chandhok share their views on how the Friday practice sessions went - it makes for interesting reading ;-)

Next up, Indian GP stuff!

We have updated our Indian GP page here and there is a new video on that page showing just how close the circuit is to completion - why not take a look? =)

Also what we have not placed on that page is this photo:

(click to enlarge)

It was posted on twitter by @Gaursameer (managing director and chief executive officer of Jaypee Sports International Limited) with the following message:

"The first picture of Pit building, saluting India!!!" - that quote is both brief and wonderful in equal mesaure =D

Finally i just wanted to let you guys know that the Indian GP has official Facebook and Twitter accounts. The facebook page is here and on twitter they are @IndianGPF1. Like and follow guys =D

Want to own a piece of the VJM03?

How much would you like to own a part from a Force India VJM03 car? Well now you can!

There is a charity auction now online on eBay and one of the lots for sale is a "Signed Force India F1 Rear Wing End plate 2010 season". The wing is signed by current Force India drivers Adrian Sutil, Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg.

At the time of writing the price is £235.00 (Rs.17,339.03) but if you have the cash it's surely worth it - when will you ever get the chance to own part of an F1 car again? Plus it's for a good cause!

Also as part of the auction there are a pair of "Narain Karthikeyan HRT F1 signed race boots". At the time of writing the price for those is £67.00 (Rs.4,943.47).

To check out those lots plus all the others please check the auction website here.

If you would like to know the story behind this auction visit one of the lots and read the description halfway down the page.

Italian GP - Practice Two Results

Results: Sutil 12th (1:25.496), Di Resta 13th (1:25.683).

A good session for the Force India boys who will be happy with the days work.

It was a standard session of gathering data with no real issues to contend with. On race pace (which all teams appeared to focus on for the majority of the session) the two Force India's are almost identical to the two Renault's which is promising going forward.

Looking forward to FP3 and qualifying tomorrow. At the last race qualifying didn't go to plan ... for this race we're all hoping for better - the pace is there for sure =)

Italian GP - Practice One Results

Results: Sutil 5th (1:26.550), Hulkenberg 12th (1:26.826), Chandhok 20th (1:30.148).

Predictably Force India appear strong here and i'm very excited as i still believe there is more pace in the car which the team have yet to show.

Both Adrian Sutil and Nico Hulkenberg (stepping into the car in place of Paul Di Resta for this session only) did a good solid job for the team. Nico would have been a bit higher up the order but he made a slight error on his final lap - nothing to worry about though.

The VJM04 is quick in the high speed first sector, good in the final sector but pretty slow in the middle sector - i'm sure the team will analyse all the data and try improve the pace in the middle sector for FP2.

Karun Chandhok also raced in FP1, stepping in for Jarno Trulli for this session. He had two slight issues during the session; firstly his wing mirror fell off and then he had a steering wheel issue but both were fixed and the Indian driver got some decent running under his belt. Trulli will be back in the car for FP2.

Okay, that's all for now, looking forward to FP2 in a few hours time! =)


Weekend Preview!

Just F1 is in action this weekend in terms of Indian participation and we are looking forward to a potentially wonderful weekend for Force India.

The last race at Belgium (Spa), and this race in Italy (Monza) have very similar characteristics in that they both have areas of very high speed and historically if a team is quick at one, they will be quick on the other. Well Force India were quick at Belgium and so the whole team is looking forward to a great weekend in Italy.

The team had always expected to be quicker during the final part of the season and that is exactly what is happening. More points are predicted this weekend and it looks very likely that this will be the race when Force India overtake Swiss outfit Sauber in the constructors championship to lead the battle for 6th.

As things stand:

Constructors Standings (6th-8th)
6th: Sauber (35pts) 
7th: Force India (32pts)
8th: Toro Rosso (22pts)

This battle has been developing for most of the season and at the moment it is clearly very tight but based on recent performances Force India are the fastest. Here are the points scored for each team during the last three races (recent form):

Midfield teams recent form (last three races)
1st: Force India (20pts)
2nd: Toro Rosso (4pts)
3rd: Sauber (2pts)

In fact in the last three races Force India have even outscored Renault who are sitting in 5th place in the constructors. What this shows is that Force India are on the best run of form of the three teams; and that the run of form shows no sign of stopping yet.

Meanwhile this is how things look in the drivers championship:

Constructors Standings (9th-17th)
9th: Vitaly Petrov (34pts)
10th: Nick Heidfeld (34pts)
11th: Kamui Kobayashi (27pts) 
12th: Adrian Sutil (24pts)
13th: Sebastien Buemi (12pts)
14th: Jaime Alguersuari (10pts)
15th: Sergio Perez (8pts) 
16th: Paul di Resta (8pts)
17th: Rubens Barrichello (4pts)

Both Adrian and Paul are looking good to gain some championship positions this weekend.

Both drivers plus team principle Vijay Mallya and circuit engineering director Dominic Harlow spoke to f1.com about the weekend ahead and here is what they had to say:

Adrian Sutil: “I enjoy Monza and I have good some memories there. It’s where I had my best result two years ago when I qualified on the front row and finished fourth. It’s a classic circuit, one of the old tracks, and you feel the history when you arrive there. And the Italian fans always give Monza a great atmosphere. I think our car is more consistent on all tracks rather than just being strong on the quick circuits. Also, because everyone is now using DRS and KERS, the advantage of our straight-line speed is not so significant. It’s still a fast car, but we were seventh in Hungary on a high downforce circuit and got the same result in Spa on a low downforce circuit. So it’s a very consistent car now and I expect a good race at Monza.”

Paul di Resta: “Yeah, in all my years of racing Monza is just one of those tracks where I’ve never raced. In fact, free practice last year was my first experience of the track. I loved it. It’s so fast but you also need to be aggressive and use the kerbs to get the laptime. And because it’s so low downforce, you have to adapt and drive in a different way. You need to be very precise on the brakes too, because it’s easy to lock a wheel and if you miss your braking by just a metre it can cost you a lot. You obviously treat every race with the same importance, but some races definitely feel a bit more special if you have an emotional connection. That’s the case with Italy because I’ve got family living there and some Italian blood in me! I’m fairly optimistic that Monza will suit us. In the past we were very strong there, but we have a different philosophy now and the car has worked well on all circuits. It’s going to be another close midfield fight but I believe we can come away with some points.”

Vijay Mallya: “Looking back on the last three races I am very pleased with the performances we have shown. Three strong points finishes on the trot have earned us 20 points and taken us a step closer to sixth place in the constructors’ championship. It’s a clear sign that we are delivering as a team on all levels and our season is now gathering some real momentum. I particularly enjoyed the last race in Spa where the racing was excellent. I felt Adrian’s seventh place was a fair reflection of our pace and a good recovery after our difficult qualifying session. At the same time we were fortunate because both cars picked up quite a lot of damage during the first corner and were lucky to finish. The target now is to get both drivers in the points and I’m hopeful Monza will give us a chance to do that. The VJM04 worked well at Spa and the drivers were happy with the balance in low downforce trim. That’s a good sign for Monza where we take another step down on the downforce levels. Italy in September is a wonderful place to visit and is a great venue for a motor racing. There is a great tradition at Monza which, along with the passionate tifosi, helps make this one of the most enjoyable races of the season.”

Dominic Harlow: “Monza always requires a new rear wing. You run about 80-85 percent of your maximum downforce and there’s a similar reduction of drag to about 75 percent of our total. The efficiency of the car goes up a little bit at those levels. Coupled with that, this is the first time that we’ve gone there with DRS. The effect will be quite a bit smaller, because the amount of downforce the wing is generating is less. You’ve got 80 percent of the maximum downforce on the car, but the reduction comes nearly all from the wings. Given that the wings are roughly 30 percent each of the overall load, with the rest coming from the floor, it cuts quite a lot of their authority. You’ve got to balance the downforce, so we reduce the capability of the front wing accordingly. Also, Monza is not a track that demands a forward aero balance because you want a reasonable amount of braking stability and entry stability, so we tend to run a little bit more rearwards and therefore less front wing. It’s fairly easy to achieve that with a flap change.”

To read quotes from members of the F1 paddock associated with other teams please refer to the original article here.

In addition to these quotes Paul di Resta (@pauldirestaf1) also tweeted the following: "Very special feeling walking around the park at Monza. Must have been awesome to drive the old banking. Already lots of variations on downforce levels up the pitlane. Some very small wings, some large wings."

While past performance is no guarantee to future success it sure is looking positive going forward but the team appear to be taking things one step at a time so let's hope for the best this weekend; the potential is there, it just needs to be maximised! =)