31/10/2011

Weekend results roundup!

Right, time to clear everything up from this weekends races.

F1
Results: Sutil 9th (2points), Di Resta 13th, Karthikeyan 17th.

The race was very interesting from Force India's point of view. The team decided to split the strategy for both cars and the standard two-stop strategy worked well for Adrian Sutil. On the other hand, Paul Di Resta decided to try and get the slower harder tyres out of the way early on but that would only really work with the aid of a safety car which didn't come. It was a calculated risk and this time it didn't pay off.

Nevertheless a good race for Force India in terms of the championship.

With Renault 21pts ahead and just two races to go they look to be in a safe P5 in the constructors championship. The main aim now is to stay ahead of Sauber and Toro Rosso, both of whom are 10pts behind us. As long as our team keeps scoring points we should be okay.

While on the subject of Force India, check out F1.com's interview with Sahara's Subrata Roy here, he's the man who now owns 42.5% of the Indian F1 team.

Elsewhere, Narain Karthikeyan enjoyed a great race in India. 17th place is his joint best result of the season (he also achieved 17th in Monaco and Canada) however it's not the position that counts here, it's the performance. Good pace was demonstrated consistently by Narain and i am sure this has given the HRT management something to think about in terms of driver line-up heading into the next race in Abu Dhabi. There is a nice little piece on autosport.com about Narain here.

You can see quotes from all race drivers and some team personnel about this weekend's race right here.

F2
Race One Result: Sureshwaren 17th.
Race Two Result: Sureshwaren 14th.

Armaan Ebrahim was not in action for the final F2 weekend of the season in Barcelona unfortunately so that left India's hopes pinned on Parthiva Sureshwaren.

Parthiva improved as the weekend progressed however he was unable to score points and so he finishes the season with 0pts. On the plus side however there are a total of five drivers with 0pts and Parthiva is highest out of the five based on his 11th place finish at Brands Hatch. His final championship position is 25th.
Ebrahim's final position is 15th with 16pts.

JK Racing Asia Series
Race One Results: Khushlani 6th, Prasad 8th, Bharath 12th (2points), Noorani 16th, Ravishankar 17th, Ahuja 18th, Kumar DNF, Hataria DSQ.

Race Two Results: Khushlani 9th, Prasad 10th, Bharath 15th, Hataria 16th, Noorani 17th, Kumar 18th, Ahuja 19th, Ravishankar 20th.

This series was a support race to F1 this weekend at the Buddh International Circuit and so we saw two new guest teams (Meco Racing and Meco's Ministry of Speed), both of which are Indian teams.

Meco Racing fielded four guest Indian drivers (Rahil Noorani, Shashank Ravishankar, Mohit Ahuja and Sarosh Hataria) whereas Meco's Ministry of Speed fielded two guest Indian drivers (Vishnu Prasad and Sandeep Kumar). Regular team Meritus GP, who currently employ the only Indian regular Raj Bharath, also took on a guest Indian driver (Akhil Khushlani).

Guest drivers are ineligible to score points towards the championship however the rules are unclear about guest teams. The two guest teams did not score this weekend however they have been placed on the official standings sheet, both with zero points. There are four races to go in this series, all at the BIC and so there are some rumours that both guest teams will become regulars but this is yet to be confirmed.

All the results for the Indians are above but regular driver Raj Bharath had a good weekend with a 12th place in race one (which would become 9th without the guests), scoring 2pts. In race two Raj was a little less lucky and did not score.

The Indian remains 14th in the championship, just 2pts behind Andrey Khrapov in 13th.

French F4
Race One Results: Ghorpade 14th.
Race Two Results: Ghorpade 7th (4points).

A very mixed weekend for the young Indian driver. A disappointing race one but a great race two meant that Parth walked away with 4points this weekend to end his season.

Parth finished the championship in 15th place with 13pts and as Auto India Sports understands it, Parth will be looking to try and find a drive in Formula Renault 2.0 to further develop his career as a racing driver.

Full and up-to-date standings from all championships we follow can be viewed on our page here.

30/10/2011

Indian GP - Race Results

Results: Sutil 9th (2points), Di Resta 13th, Karthikeyan 17th.

Well it wasn't a classic race, but it was an Indian race! An Indian race that happened with no problems for the circuit so i think it's safe to say the Buddh International Circuit is a success! =)

Meanwhile on track for the Indian contingent it was a mixed day.

Force India appeared to lack pace at some points during the race (inconsistency) but strangely so did everyone else! Adrian just lost out to Alguersuari's high straight line speed Toro Rosso compared to where he started and so finished P9 - a good effort! On the other hand, Paul Di Resta decided to go for a risky strategy of starting on the slower, harder tyre but it would only work if there was an early safety car and there wasn't unfortunately - that ruined his race, P13 for him.

Looking elsewhere Indian driver Narain Karthikeyan had a wonderful race and pretty much got the maximum he could out of this weekend. He finished ahead of the Lotus of Jarno Trulli and also ahead of his teammate Daniel Ricciardo - by a massive margin aswell ... 31.8seconds! Infact Narain was only 0.5seconds behind D'Ambrosio in 16th at the end of the race. Surely this performance from Narain must give HRT something to think about in terms of driver line-up for the next race.

Look out for Darshan Chokhani's full race weekend report in the middle of next week =)

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29/10/2011

Indian GP - Qualifying Results

Results: Sutil 8th (No time set), Di Resta 13th (1:26.503, will start 12th), Karthikeyan 22nd (1:30.238, will start 23rd).

Well i mentioned in my FP3 report that i thought Di Resta was slower than Adrian around this circuit and i was right. Adrian made it into Q3 whereas Paul didn't - nevertheless a good effort by the Force India drivers!

Di Resta did qualify 13th but will start 12th, benefiting from a 5-place grid penalty to Petrov.

Things are looking good in the teams battle for P5 in the championship and a double points finish is on the cards tomorrow! =)

Meanwhile Narain Karthikeyan qualified in 22nd place, ahead of the two Virgin cars and just 2hundredths behind teammate Ricciardo ... a great effort from the Indian! Unfortunately Karthikeyan does have a 5-place grid penalty for impeding Michael Schumacher in qualifying and that means he will start 23rd (still ahead of Glock who was outside the 107% rule but races with the stewards' discretion).

Indian GP - Practice Three Results

Results: Di Resta 7th (1:26.785), Sutil 9th (1:26.958), Karthikeyan 22nd (1:30.900).

Practice three was a standard session with no real problems for any driver and it was a session in which Force India greatly impressed!

With Di Resta 7th and Sutil 9th both drivers will be very satisfied with their performance - another good thing to draw on is that they achieved those positions despite their laps not being perfect ... their is definitely more time to be gained here =) I still believe Sutil to be two or three tenths quicker than Di Resta around this track when both hook up "near-perfect" laps.

As for Karthikeyan, 22nd is very good for him in his HRT! Although he was a massive 2s quicker than D'Ambrosio's Virgin and 2.4s quicker than teammate Ricciardo which suggests those two drivers had technical problems (the gap is too big to be down to the driver alone).

Nevertheless, this is looking very promising!

Can't wait for qualifying in a couple of hours =)

28/10/2011

Friday Sweep Up!

Three articles to link you guys to after today's practice sessions (all from F1.com and all brilliant articles).

1) An article on Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok about their motorsport journeys so far here.
2) A Q&A session with Adrian Sutil about racing in India here.
3) Team & driver quotes (all teams) here.

Enjoy! :-)

Indian GP - Practice Two Results

Results: Sutil 7th (1:27.316), Di Resta 9th (1:27.853), Karthikeyan 24th (1:32.824).

No problems with the track in FP2 and the Buddh International Circuit is so far very good!

The two Force India's appear to have very solid pace this weekend! Having said that Paul Di Resta appears to be struggling for pace in comparison to teammate Adrian Sutil. It is our understanding that Paul would not prefer this type of circuit with lots of mini chicanes in sector two but there is no reason that he can't improve and be matching Adrian by qualifying.

One thing that could really benefit Force India this weekend in their optimistic quest for P5 in the constructors is that several rivals have grid penalties. Petrov (Renault) will be demoted 5places for causing a collision at the last race and both Hamilton (McLaren) and Perez (Sauber) will be demoted 3places for ignoring yellow flags in FP1.

Meanwhile Narain Karthikeyan is battling hard with his teammate this weekend - in FP1 Narain was on top but in this session Ricciardo got the better of him but by less than a tenth of a second!

Now we are looking forward to FP3 and qualifying tomorrow =)

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Indian GP - Practice One Results

FP1 Results: Sutil 8th (1:28.705), Di Resta 11th (1:29.700), Chandhok 19th (1:32.487), Karthikeyan 21st (1:34.113).

A proud moment at the start of the session for all Indians as cars began exiting the pit lane =D It was very nice to see Sutil, Chandhok, Di Resta and Karthikeyan all queueing at the end of the pits as the session began - and they were the first four drivers onto the circuit =)

Karun Chandhok left his pit garage very early to be the first driver onto the track but he left it too late as Adrian Sutil was already queueing! Nevertheless Karun did overtake Adrian on that first installation lap.

Within the first five minutes the session was red flagged due to a dog on the track but the track marshalls resolved that quickly and action got back underway smoothly enough.

The circuit in Delhi is very dusty, which is not nessessarily a bad thing ... well, bad for the drivers but great for the fans =)

The two Force India's did a solid job; 8th and 11th (Adrian ahead of Paul). Meanwhile at the back Karun Chandhok was 19th in his only session of the weekend (1.7s slower than teammate Trulli) whereas Karthikeyan was 21st (two tenths up on his teammate Ricciardo).

We'll leave you with this quote about India from F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone: "They've done in three years what Silverstone did in twenty".

27/10/2011

Weekend Preview - part three!

As there is so much news coming from the F1 paddock we need a part three to our weekend preview feature!

Firstly let's link you to some things:

Indian GP preview by F1.com - here (worth reading!)
Interview with Force India team principle Vijay Mallya - here
Preview quotes from all drivers/team principles - here

Meanwhile there are two good videos online which we will embed:

Paul Di Resta previewing the Indian GP

Adrian Sutil and Nico Hulkenberg talking about their previous Indian experiences

There has been much praise for the Buddh International Circuit so far and also a few problems (but that is to be expected on a debut event). News is flying in from various sources and so far i have not heard one bad thing about the circuit layout or India (as a country) itself - everything is positive which is great!

There have been a few issues in the media centre with two power cuts and also a bat managed to fly inside the building. Furthermore a few people have complained that some of the commentary boxes don't have windows and you can't actually see the circuit from them! Maybe this is something to think about for the circuits second GP (it's only by making mistakes that the organisers can improve the event) - but on the whole so far so good! =)

Looking elsewhere FIA institute have selected 30 young drivers to take part in a four day shootout to decide who will make it onto the 2012 Young Driver Excellence Academy. From these 30 drivers, 18 of them will be invited into the Academy run by the FIA to improve their skills.

One of the drivers invited to the four day shootout is Indian youngster Parth Ghorpade! Find out more here.

While on the subject of Parth, he was one of the ten drivers who travelled with Force India to Silverstone as part of the one from a billion driver academy. Unfortunately Parth was not one of the drivers who made it through the academy's tough selection process.

Force India selected three individuals who will now go through a training programme in the UK, those people are:

1) Arjun Maini (qualified from Bangalore)
2) Tarun Reddy (qualified from Chennai)
3) Jehan Daruwala (qualified from Hyderabad)

Remember these names, we may hear of them again very soon! :-)

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26/10/2011

Weekend Preview - part two!

We covered F1 yesterday in a long blog post that can be found here so now it's time to cover other racing series with Indian interest.

Formula Two
F2 heads to Barcelona for the final rounds of the 2011 FIA F2 Championship with one race on Saturday and one race on Sunday.

The weekend which is being build as the "Spanish showdown" is a crucial one for the two Indian drivers; Armaan Ebrahim and Parthiva Sureshwaren.

Drivers Championship (11th-29th)
11) Thiemo Storz (19pts)
12) Mikkel Mac (18pts)
13) Luciano Bacheta (18pts)
14) Jordan King (17pts) 
15) Armaan Ebrahim (16pts)
16) Jon Lancaster (14pts)
17) Max Snegirev (14pts)
18) Banjamin Lariche (14pts)
19) Julian Theobald (8pts)
20) James Cole (6pts)
21) Johannes Theobald (1pt)
22) Jose Luis Abadin (1pt)
23) Plamen Kralev (1pt)
24) Tom Gladdis (1pt) 
25) Parthiva Sureshwaren (0pts)
26) Sunghak Mun (0pts)
27) Natalia Kowalska (0pts)
28) Fabio Gamberini (0pts)
29) Rene Binder (0pts)

Armaan is in a very tight battle with just 5points seperating the drivers between 11th and 18th. Whereas Parthiva has yet to score this season, however points this weekend could shoot him up the order considerably depending on what position he manages.

F2 uses the same scoring system as F1 and as a result there are a maximum of 50pts up for grabs this weekend - so clearly everything is still to play for.

JK Racing Asia Series
The JK Racing Asia Series is a support race to F1 this weekend at the Buddh International Circuit so Indian driver Raj Bharath will be hoping to score well at his home races.

There are six races to go in this series, all at Buddh (two of them this weekend, four of them in November).

Drivers Championship (13th-15th)
13) Andrey Khrapov (15pts) 
14) Raj Bharath (11pts)
15) Dylan Young (9pts)

If Raj can score good points he could jump Andrey Khrapov for 13th place and close the gap to the guys further ahead in the championship.

It is worth noting that Raj's best finish so far this season is 7th place at the last race in Singapore - he needs to try and take that momentum forward into this weekends race and build on that solid performance.

French F4
Similarly to F2, this series has its final rounds of the season this weekend. Indian Parth Ghorpade will be racing with the other French F4 drivers at the Paul Ricard circuit in France.

Drivers Championship (12th-18th)
12) Francisco-Javier Suarez (17pts)
13) Jordan Perroy (13pts)
14) Kevin Balthazar (13pts) 
15) Parth Ghorpade (8pts)
16) Paul Petit (6pts)
17) Josh Fielding (5pts)
18) Tomasz Krzeminski (3pts)

Clearly Parth will be going all out for points in a quest to finish as high as possible in the championship - he could make up many positions with a solid points finish!

Via this article you can tell that this is a major weekend for Indian motorsport, and the first F1 Grand Prix of India is not the only reason! We don't want our other drivers to get overshadowed by the moment - we wish them all the very best of luck this weekend =)

Full championship standings of all the series we follow can be found here.

25/10/2011

F1 Weekend Preview!

Obviously this weekend preview will be different from all the others we have done; this one is much more special as F1 gets ready for the first ever Indian Grand Prix!

With just India, Abu Dhabi and Brazil to go this season Force India are in a very tight constructors battle.

Here is how things stand with three races left:

Constructors Championship (5th-8th)
5) Lotus Renault (72pts) 
6) Force India (49pts)
7) Sauber (40pts)
8) Toro Rosso (37pts)

Clearly the two aims for this race will be to keep 6th place (by outscoring Sauber and Toro Rosso) and possibly close the gap to Renault in 5th place however that will be a very tough ask.

In order to catch Renault by the end of the season, Force India need to outscore them by 7.67pts per race; considering a 5th place bags 10points it's still possible but we would require lots of non-points finishes for Renault.

When Force India were formed back in 2008, owner (now co-owner) Vijay Mallya stated that he wanted to be on the podium at the Indian GP - while that is still possible (never say never in F1) it does look unlikely. However a top five finish would be a performance to remember and with a little luck that can happen. A double points finish will also be a very good performance. Infact, deputy team principle Robert Fernley echo's my thoughts via his interview on Force India's website here.

Meanwhile in the drivers championship:

Drivers Championship (9th-16th)
9) Vitaly Petrov (36pts)
10) Nick Heidfeld (34pts) 
11) Adrian Sutil (28pts)
12) Kamui Kobayashi (27pts)
13) Jaime Alguersuari (22pts) 
14) Paul di Resta (21pts)
15) Sebastien Buemi (15pts)
16) Sergio Perez (13pts)

It is clear to see that it is very tight - especially for the two Force India drivers.

Adrian Sutil will be looking for a 6th place (8points) to leapfrog the no-longer-in-F1 Nick Heidfeld and close the gap to Vitaly Petrov for 9th whereas Paul Di Resta could also do with a solid 6th place to leapfrog Kamui Kobayashi and Jamie Alguersuari (presuming those two don't score).

As for the two drivers of Indian nationality; Narain Karthikeyan will be racing this weekend in place of ex-Force India driver Vitantonio Liuzzi. This is a very important fact - there will be an Indian racing at the first ever Indian GP!

Meanwhile Karun Chandhok will take part in FP1 however he will not take part in the race this weekend. This decision is very disappointing for Indian fans ... personally i find it ironic that the busiest driver this weekend (with media and PR) will not be taking part. Furthermore this Grand Prix would probably not be going ahead without Karun and his father Vicky.

Karun is clearly disappointed that he will not race at the first ever Indian GP. His attention now will have to turn to becoming the first ever Indian driver to win a F1 grand prix - if he gets a good enough car, it is possible; although it may be a few seasons time until that happens.

As i mentioned above Karun has done alot of PR work this weekend - too much to write about infact; but here are the best features:

Karun talking to speed.com about his thoughts on the historic race

A guide to the Buddh International Circuit with Karun by Renault Sport F1

The cars have not yet taken to the track and already we have news about a second F1-spec track to be built in India - good times for Indian motorsport but let's focus on this weekends race for now.

This is all set to be India's proudest moment in motorsport; so much work, so much effort will all be showcased at this race. This is the weekend where everyone in the F1 fraternity be it drivers, engineers, sponsors or media descend on Nodia for an international sporting event. This is the weekend where all eyes will be on India. This is the weekend where we showcase what we have to offer; and this is the weekend where we will feel pride and passion for our great nation.

We have all waited so long for this moment and now we can reap the rewards.
Are you ready?
It's time!

21/10/2011

It's Indian GP time!!

Just one week to go until the start of the inaugural Indian GP weekend - we're all very excited!!

Predictably all the spotlight and all the news has been concerning the upcoming historic race.

Firstly, it's confirmed, the track is ready! The developers are still doing little bits of work on the run up to the race, but it is ready to host the event ... infact some additional work will probably be carried out after the GP based on feedback (needs to be done to maintain the circuit as a World class international sporting venue). Nevertheless the circuit could host the race tomorrow if need be. Here are the latest track pictures.

Believe it or not an F1 car has already driven the circuit! Which car? Red Bull ... which driver? Neel Jani! Neel, who now mainly competes in endurance racing, races under the Swiss nationality however he is infact half Indian! Read the story of his test here.

Elsewhere various media sources have been ecstatic about the upcoming Indian race ... there is a great article online here about "India's road to F1 status" whereas there is another good read here called "India & Formula 1 (a dream come true)" - we recommend both reads!

In other news Narain Karthikeyan said his aim for the GP is to finish the race (preferably ahead of the Virgin cars) whereas news is awaited on Karun Chandhok's chances of a drive with Team Lotus. Karun has conducted a feature with TV show Overdrive Grand Prix about his personal/home life - that can be watched right here.

Force India will be in action as normal at the Indian GP and in an effort to try and get more people enthusiastic about their home race their media team have created a great website! You can view it here.

We have a very special article coming midweek as part of our build up to the Indian GP so keep an eye out for that - that's all from us for now!

Thanks for reading =)

18/10/2011

BARC Formula Renault - Silverstone

Race One Result: Jaffer 15th (6points).
Race Two Result: Jaffer 13th (8points).

As the season came to its conclusion in Silverstone, Indian driver Zaamin Jaffer had a disappointing weekend - infact his worst weekend of the season.

A 15th place in race one and a 13th place in race two means he scores 14points but he would have been hoping for more!

As a consequence of this result Zaamin ended the season in 12th place in the championship, just 1point behind David Wagner in 11th - overall a good position but he may have had higher expectations.

It now remains to be seen exactly where Zaamin ends up in 2012, but at this stage, remaining in the BARC Formula Renault championship seems most likely.

To view the final championship standings please visit our page here.

16/10/2011

Korean GP - Race Results

Results: Di Resta 10th (1point), Sutil 11th.

Well, before the race Adrian Sutil spoke to Martin Brundle (UK TV coverage) and said that he did not want rain which surprised me given Adrian's pace in the wet; and although there were a few spots of rain it didn't really affect Force India's race.

So the team started in 9th and 10th with a split strategy (Di Resta on super-softs, Sutil on softs) however after the first lap Adrian Sutil had been passed by Schumacher which would mean the team were in 9th and 11th.

Meanwhile Toro Rosso were very quick all race, purely because of their speed down the long straight in sector one and for the rest of the race we would be in a tough battle with Red Bull's second team. Ultimately it was a losing battle though, they were just too quick today! Thankfully we are already well clear of them in the constructors championship so them beating us was no major problem.

Both our main championships rivals had dreadful races.

Renault: 13th (Senna) and DNF (Petrov)
Sauber: 15th (Kobayashi) and 16th (Perez)

So no points for our rivals but only one point for us - this now means that we are a little further ahead of Sauber but Renault are now 23pts ahead with just three races to go - it will be VERY tough to catch up to them but we'll give it our best shot - it's looking like we will need a crazy race and a 4th or 5th place for it to happen.

Now the F1 circus heads to the race we have been waiting for all season - the first ever Indian Grand Prix!

15/10/2011

Korean GP - Saturday Results

Sorry for the slow updates this weekend, i am having severe internet connection problems and therefore struggling to update. The good news however is that i have arranged for an alternate connection for tomorrow so i will be posting my race review straight away after the race is over.

Practice Three Results: Sutil 8th (1:39.660), Di Resta 11th (1:39.847).

Clearly these results were very positive for the team and, as a result, they were hopeful of a good performance in qualifying.

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

The qualifying session went brilliantly for the Indian team! Both cars snuck into Q3 to set themselves up for a potentially superb race tomorrow.

Once again to save tyres neither driver set a laptime in Q3 however Paul did do one out lap which is why he starts ahead of Adrian.

As for our rivals:

Renault: 8th and 15th (Petrov and Senna)
Sauber: 14th and 17th (Kobayashi and Perez)

Clearly not the best day at the office for our rivals which makes our good performance a little sweeter. The only rival ahead of us is Vitaly Petrov's Renault. If Force India are to put pressure on Renault for 5th place in the constructors then we need to be beating him tomorrow.

It will be an exciting race for sure and we wish the team the very best of luck! =)

Korean GP - Practice Two Results

Results: Di Resta 10th (1:53.957), Sutil 12th (1:54.392).

Firstly sorry for the delay in posting the FP2 report, i've been having internet connection problems until now.

An uneventful session for the two Force India drivers saw them post the 10th and 12th fastest times of the day respectively (Di Resta ahead of Sutil).

After the session both drivers seemed happy with their days work although i'm sure they would have preferred more running on the dry tyres.

We're looking forward to FP3 which begins in just over five minutes time.

14/10/2011

Korean GP - Practice One Results

FP1 Results: Di Resta 3rd (2:02.912), Sutil 4th (2:03.141), Chandhok 11th (2:06.350), Karthikeyan 15th (2:08.832).

Heavy rain fell for several hours leading upto the start of the first practice session in Korea and as a result we saw no timed laps for the first 54 minutes of the session as teams/drivers looked to save wet tyres incase they are needed tomorrow or on Sunday (they only receive three sets of wets at the start of the weekend).

Nevertheless with around half an hour to go we got some laptimes, although in these conditions they mean absolutely nothing. Having said that it's very nice to see the Force India's and Karun Chandhok higher in the standings compared to normal =)

As for incidents alot of drivers were running wide including Paul Di Resta, whereas Karun Chandhok and Narain Karthikeyan (both doing FP1 only) had spins for Team Lotus and HRT respectively, but both drivers got away with their incidents - no harm done!

Okay, that concludes the FP1 review. It's just after 3:30AM here where i am in the UK so i'm off to get a few hours sleep before FP2. Thanks for reading!

13/10/2011

Weekend Preview!

After the non-points scoring finish in Japan, Force India - or Sahara Force India as they are now called - will be looking to outscore Sauber and Renault this weekend (in Korea) for the constructors championship.

We simply need to bag more points than Sauber to stay ahead of them. As for Renault (who are ahead of us) we have a set target. They are 24points ahead of us with four races to go. This means that we need to outscore them by 6pts per race to be level at the end of the season. A tough ask but very possible!

Constructors Championship (5th-7th)
5) Lotus Renault (72pts) 
6) Force India (48pts)
7) Sauber (40pts)

Meanwhile this is how things currently look in the drivers championship:

Drivers Championship (9th-16th)
9) Vitaly Petrov (36pts)
10) Nick Heidfeld (34pts) 
11) Adrian Sutil (28pts)
12) Kamui Kobayashi (27pts) 
13) Paul di Resta (20pts)
14) Jaime Alguersuari (16pts)
15) Sergio Perez (13pts)
16) Sebastien Buemi (13pts)

Clearly both drivers can change position this weekend. It is worth noting that with Nick Heidfeld having lost his drive at Renault, Adrian Sutil should be able to leapfrog him at some stage before the end of the season into 10th place.

Over the last 24hours there have been a few disgruntled fans about the name change from Force India to Sahara Force India so i am going to give my opinion. I do prefer Force India to Sahara Force India, i think it rolls off the tongue better; however having said that, i can understand the reasons behind the name change. If, for instance, the name was Force India Sahara (as many have suggested) we would have got less money. I'm sure Vijay Mallya would have preferred to not change the name, however he knows that realistically it would be too much of an ask to consistently beat the top teams without the backing of another major company. This way we now have money available for development to ultimately challenge for podiums, wins and championships. Expect a few podiums in 2012 ;-)

(click to enlarge)

Very glad to see that the overall design/colour scheme of the car has not changed - that was crucial in my opinion as we have a unique identity on the grid. I'm not a major fan of the new team logo, but after looking at this picture and seeing it on the car it is growing on me =)

Elsewhere, the BARC Formula Renault Championship is an action this weekend at Silverstone with Indian driver Zaamin Jaffer looking to cement his 10th place in the constructors championship. We wish him the very best of luck!

Full standings of both championships mentioned here and all the other championhips we take interest in can be found here.

12/10/2011

Sahara Force India is born!


Just minutes after we last posted the news was announced!

Force India F1 have become Sahara Force India F1!

Under the agreement:

- Subrata Roy (chairman of Sahara) will invest $100Million into Force India.
- Subrata Roy will own 42.5%, Vijay Mallya will own 42.5% and Michael Mol will own 15%.
- Subrata Roy will become Force India chairman. Vijay Mallya will be managing director/team principle.
- Force India will be renamed Sahara Force India.

My personal view is that this was nessessary. This could well be the deal that takes Force India from a midfield team in 2011 to a regular podium contender in 2012.

This agreement means more money which in turn means an improved development rate and as a result, a faster car.

I'm not 100% convinced about the new logo or team name. I don't feel that Sahara Force India runs off the tongue very well however most people will more than likely refer to the team as Force India still. Nevertheless that's just my personal view.

A big thumbs up to Vijay Mallya for this deal and helping to take the team forward to the next level =D

It's been a while ...

Due to various personal issues it has been a while since any of us have been able to write a blog and as a result there will be no weekend review for the Japanese GP. However the popular feature will be back for the Korean GP =)

Here is a latest update on all the happenings in the World of F1 (associated with India):

Sports brand Puma have been announced as the official merchandise partner of the Buddh International Circuit where the Indian GP will be held later this month. Puma India managing director, Rajiv Mehta had this to say: "It is our pleasure to be associated with Buddh International Circuit this year. We see this association as a pioneering effort in the field of motorsports merchandise and suits the need of the million fans to reflect their spirit and passion for the sport."

Next up there is a vote online here with the question "who is the most important living management thinker?". While not in the list of selections, alot of Indians have been voting for Force India boss Dr.Vijay Mallya. I personally have done so and would like it if you guys did too. To vote for Vijay simply visit the link and type Dr.Vijay Mallya into the "other" box =)

Meanwhile, Karun Chandhok has been busy (as always) and he has appeared in a Korean GP preview video made by Renault Sport F1. You can view that right here:


Down at Force India there have been a number of stories concerning a takeover recently however the main speculation is as follows:

(NOTE: This is purely SPECULATION at this stage)

- Subrata Roy (chairman of Sahara) will invest $100Million into Force India.
- Subrata Roy will own 42.5%, Vijay Mallya will own 42.5% and Michael Mol will own 15%.
- Subrata Roy will become Force India chairman. Vijay Mallya will be managing director/team principle.
- Force India will be renamed Sahara Force India.

IF this is true then i personally welcome this deal; a second big company (in addition to Kingfisher) means more money for investment and more potential to improve results. If this deal does go through ... down the line, in coming seasons, we could see regular podiums, wins and maybe eventually championships.

Exciting times possibly ahead!

09/10/2011

Japanese GP - Race Results

Results: Sutil 11th, Di Resta 12th.

It was a brilliant start by the two Force India drivers, both benefiting from a poor start by Kamui Kobayashi up ahead; placing the pair in 8th and 9th with Di Resta leading Sutil.

All of a sudden after the first set of pit stops Adrian came out 4seconds ahead of Di Resta - we're not sure at this stage if Di Resta made an error on his in lap or had a slow pit stop.

Sutil then stopped for a second time and one lap later the safety car came out due to debris on the track. Paul used that opportunity to pit. However this safety car is what would prove to ruin Force India's race.

The safety car meant that our rivals could save tyre wear or put on a set of hard tyres until the end of the race meaning that they were FAR faster in the closing stages and all of a sudden we saw a host of overtaking manoeuvres. Adrian passed Paul and then passed Kobayashi but then Petrov and Rosberg flew past Paul, then Kobayashi, then Adrian and finally Di Resta got past Kobayashi.


What it all meant was that the two Force India's finished exactly where they started in 11th and 12th.

The team will be disappointed however we achieved the maximum we could this weekend - there was nothing more that the drivers or mechanics could have done really; we just lost out due to the timing of the safety car.

Crucially though, although our rivals did outscore us they didn't do it by much so essentially the points situation is the same heading into the next race, next weekend in Korea.

Look out for the whole weekend review by Darshan Chokhani in the next few days.

08/10/2011

Japanese GP - Qualifying Results

Results: Sutil 11th (1:32.463), Di Resta 12th (1:32.746).

Neither driver made it into Q3 however i still think that was a very good session for the Force India boys.

Starting outside the top ten means that both drivers can choose which tyres they start on and in a race where the engineers are predicting between 3-5 stops for each driver that could be crucial. Both drivers have brand new softer (faster) compound tyres available and they may well decide to start the race on them (infact Di Resta has one extra set than everybody else around him after saving smartly in qualifying).

Our two main rivals heading into the race were Renault and Sauber.
Sauber grabbed 7th and 17th (Kobayashi ahead of the very unwell Sergio Perez) and Renault grabbed 9th and 10th (Senna ahead of Petrov). Infact Perez isn't the only one who is unwell, Di Resta has also complained of a slight cold.

That's three rival cars starting ahead of us but again they will have to start the race on worn tyres and if these tyres do degrade as fast as people expect then we are in a brilliant position and i think we could even be battling Schumacher come the end of the race due to the amount of new sets we have saved compared to him.

The chance of rain is low to none however safety cars probably will be a major factor - the team proved their decision making ability with a safety car at the last race, let's hope for more of the same tomorrow =)

Japanese GP - Practice Three Results

FP1 Results: Sutil 10th (1:33.424), Di Resta 15th (1:33.990).

Slightly improved pace from both Force India's in this session is promising heading into qualifying.

It was Adrian Sutil who led the inter-team battle and he has looked more comfortable around this circuit all weekend so far. The gap between him and Paul Di Resta was 6tenths of a second (Paul lost 2 tenths in sector one, 4tenths in sector two and was on equal pace with Adrian in sector three).

Adrian needs to keep up this promising pace for qualifying whereas Paul needs to try and match Adrian; he is capable for sure but let's not forget this is the first time Di Resta has raced around Suzuka so he's doing a decent job so far =)

07/10/2011

Japanese GP - Practice One & Two Results

Firstly i would like to apologise for the delay in my article ... i did watch the sessions live however i am based in the UK and the sessions were at 2am and 6am UK Time so after i stayed up to watch them i was simply too tired!

Nevertheless, better late than never! =)

FP1 Results: Hulkenberg 12th (1:36.700), Di Resta 14th (1:36.949), Chandhok 20th (1:39.946), Karthikeyan 24th (1:41.775).

A host of driver changes in FP1; Hulkenberg in for Sutil at Force India, Chandhok in for Kovalainen at Team Lotus and Karthikeyan in for Liuzzi at HRT.

It was Hulkenberg who would come out on top at Force India, 2tenths faster than regular driver Paul Di Resta. Over recent races we have come to expect better positions from the Indian team but it's too early to read anything into positions at this stage due to differing fuel loads.

Meanwhile at Team Lotus, Karun Chandhok was 8tenths slower than teammate Trulli whereas at HRT Karthikeyan was 6tenths slower than teammate Ricciardo - in both cases it can be put down to a lack of practice (both Trulli and Ricciardo have been doing whole weekends in previous races and thus are sharper).

FP2 Results: Sutil 12th (1:33.790), Di Resta 15th (1:34.601).

Normal service was resumed in terms of driver line-ups for FP2 with Chandhok and Karthikeyan having to sit out and Sutil was back in for Hulkenberg for the rest of the weekend.

It was Adrian Sutil who came out on top in the Force India battle, quite considerably infact - the gap to Di Resta was almost 1second (which is a long way in F1). Di Resta must have had some kind of problem on his hot lap.

Now we look ahead to FP3 and qualifying tomorrow as the team try to build on this steady foundation.

06/10/2011

Weekend Preview!

Formula One is back in action this weekend at Japan! Infact it's the only race series in action this weekend with Indian interest.

Going into the race Force India are looking to pull away from Sauber and close the gap to Renault in the constructors championship (as Adrian Sutil tells autosport.com here).

This is how things currently stand:

Constructors Championship (5th-7th)
5) Renault (70pts)
6) Force India (48pts)
7) Sauber (36pts)

Essentially the aim will be to outscore both rival teams. Renault are 22pts ahead with five races to go. This means that a swing of 4.4pts per race for Force India would be enough to catch Renault come the end of the season.

Although the Indian team is looking forward, they must also look back too ... Sauber are just 12pts behind and have a major upgrade for this race (Force India only have a minor upgrade). Furthermore their number one driver Kamui Kobayashi has shown in the past that the Japanese Suzuka circuit is one of his best. They could be a threat but Force India should still hopefully come out on top.

Looking at the drivers championship:

Drivers Championship (9th-16th)
9) Vitaly Petrov (34pts)
10) Nick Heidfeld (34pts) 
11) Adrian Sutil (28pts)
12) Kamui Kobayashi (27pts)
13) Paul di Resta (20pts)
14) Jaime Alguersuari (16pts)
15) Sebastien Buemi (13pts)
16) Sergio Perez (9pts)

Clearly both drivers are fighting for overall position. Adrian is 6pts behind Nick Heidfeld and Paul is 7pts behind Kamui Kobayashi - this means that our drivers need a 6th place finish (8points) or better to gain a position in the championship based on points. Once again the two drivers need to look over their shoulders at the chasing Kobayashi and Jamie Alguersuari respectively.

You can read what Adrian Sutil, Paul Di Resta and Force India boss Vijay Mallya had to say here.

Elsewhere on the grid Narain Karthikeyan will take part in FP1 for HRT in place of ex-Force India driver Vitantonio Liuzzi whereas news is awaited on the prospects of Karun Chandhok.

As always you can catch all the news as it happens right here on Auto India Sports, thanks for reading! =)

05/10/2011

More Indian GP news!

As we get closer and closer to the special occasion that will be the first Indian GP the news is coming thick and fast.

Karun Chandhok has spoken to IBN Live about his latest thoughts on the event and why he thinks it will be special in a video interview which you can view right here:

Meanwhile F1 boss, Bernie Ecclestone, has also had his say on India by speaking to daily news and analysis about why F1 is arriving very late to the subcontinent. You can read that interview here.

Elsewhere there was a great article in the Times Of India a few days ago about marshaling and F1 - well worth a read if you can find a copy! There is a snapshot of that article here.

And finally we wanted to share this pretty awesome picture with you of the Buddh International Circuit:

(click to enlarge)

02/10/2011

Formula Two - Monza

Formula Two was the only series in action this weekend that had Indian interest. Armaan Ebrahim wasn't present at the event so the hopes of the nation fell on Parthiva Sureshwaren's ability - he was looking to score his first points this season.

Race one result: Sureshwaren 15th.
Race two result: Sureshwaren 14th.

Unfortunately Sureshwaren wasn't able to score points this weekend after an extremely quiet and uneventful round for the Indian, he simply didn't have the pace.

Parthiva remains 25th in the championship and Armaan has dropped from 12th to 15th after not showing for the event.

Let's hope both can score some points in the next round at Barcelona.

Full championship standings are available to view here.

01/10/2011

Lots of news!

Alot of things have happened over the last few days do we're going to try sum everything up in one big article.

Firstly it has been confirmed down at HRT that Narain Karthikeyan will drive in Friday practice at the upcoming Japanese GP. This is a continuation of Narain's preparation for the Indian GP where he will race the whole weekend in place of Daniel Ricciardo.

Here is what Narain, @narainracing, had to say on twitter: "Driving FP1 at Suzuka - a great driver's circuit. 130R one of the best corners in the world- even though not as challenging now".

Elsewhere, our other F1 star, Karun Chandhok has done an interesting interview for dailypioneer.com. Lots of good info came up including that he "lost 26 kg in less than six months" to fit in the car! That shows supreme determination and dedication from him =) It's worth a read! While we're on the subject of Karun Chandhok, if you have not yet read the interview we conducted with him you can do so here.

Meanwhile down at Force India, team boss Vijay Mallya has told autsport.com here that he has set his sights on catching and overtaking Renault for P5 in the constructors championship. That will be a tough task, but it is possible for sure! Force India need to gain 4.4pts each race more than Renault to get on level terms at the end of the season (if you have not seen our recent points analysis article you can view it here).

Finally we're gonna take a trip to Sauber who have big news! Indian company Amul has announced a sponsorship deal with the Swiss team for the Indian GP. It's a shame a deal could not be done with Force India in all honesty, although we don't know if Vijay Mallya or Amul had any discussions. Nevertheless this is a good thing, the more Indian sponsors who get involved in F1 the better recognition for our nation =)