Force India news items

Lots of stories have been in the media lately regarding Force India ahead of the teams 2012 VJM05 car launch on 3rd February (read more on that launch from Force India here).

Let's start with the sad news first. Our ex-driver, Adrian Sutil, has been found guilty in a court of law. The German driver was on trial after an altercation with Lotus (that's 2012 Lotus) co-owner Eric Lux in a Shanghai nightclub during celebrations for Lewis Hamilton's 2011 Chinese Grand Prix win. It was put to the court that Sutil had injured Lux in an incident that had occurred. As a result Adrian has been given an 18month suspended jail sentence and a €200,000 fine.

What must be noted here is that this is a suspended jail sentence. This means that should Adrian not be found guilty of something similar in the next 18months, he will not serve time in prison. Nevertheless he still has the guilty tag over his head which is very disappointing.

Reliable F1 source, Adam Cooper (@adamcooperf1), stated that:

"CCTV showed the other guy attacked first and Adrian just tried to push him away. Also worrying when judge makes it clear that outcome influenced by the fact he was famous. Funny kind of justice in Germany...".

I don't wish to put words in peoples mouths but it sounds like Adam Cooper believes Adrian to be innocent; and given Sutil's usually calm laid back nature (remember Brazil 2009 with Jarno Trulli?) i would personally agree with Adam.

Following the decision by the German courts Adrian said the following: 

"Maybe I will take some time out now. Maybe I will do something completely different, think about things in peace. At least I shook Mr Lux's hand, that's a good thing".

We wish Adrian the very best of luck in the future but let's move onto some more positive stuff for now.

Vijay Mallya has had an interesting interview with German magazine Auto Motor und Sport. The Force India team principle stated:

"The Indian people are proud that we have been able to create a team for the country to play an important role in Formula One. Without our success we have attracted a larger group of supporters, now it's getting difficult to meet the demands. The people of India expect us to beat Mercedes now. Subrata Roy's [Force India co-owner] vision is to be as good as Red Bull but he's so excited that I have to stop him a bit. There are no shortcuts in Formula One."

Being as good as Red Bull may take a long time, however it's good to know that the Sahara group, who partially fund Force India, are committed to the cause and our ambitions :-)

We share quite alot of news via our facebook page nowadays so make sure you like us to get updates from us on your wall.

Meanwhile we are in the process of updating the website so bear with us while we make some changes! Thanks for your continued support guys! :-)


Want to know more?

A while ago we did an interview with Emma Buxton which can be read here. Another F1 blog, Jack Leslie F1, has also conducted an interview with the previous Force India employee. To read this latest interview visit Jack's blog here.


Groupe L'Inde!

Okay so let's have a little French lesson:
  • Groupe = Force
  • L'Inde = India

Why is the headline in French? Well, as predicted by Auto India Sports back in December, Force India have signed Frenchman Jules Bianchi as reserve driver for 2012.

Ferrari have confirmed however that Jules still remains on their young driver programme. This really shows that Force India's reserve role is regarded as the best reserve seat to have on the grid - just ask Nico Hulkenberg who now has a race seat after spending a season in the reserve position. The reason for this is that Force India's philosophy is that a team has three drivers, not two. In keeping with this philosophy, Jules has been promised at least nine outings in Friday practice sessions during 2012.

Jules said:

"I'm obviously excited to join Sahara Force India and the chance to get track time during race weekends is an important step for me. Being regularly in a current car is the best way to learn quickly and I hope it will put me in a strong position to one day move into a race seat".

While we are on the subject of Force India, you may be interested to know that we'll have an article on their 2012 prospects in the next few days - stay tuned for that!


Bolisetti surprises all!

In a very surprising announcement, Sailesh Bolisetti has confirmed that Team Lotus Sport UK have signed him to take part in the British GT Championship during 2012. Last season the Indian driver took part in the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup and finished 15th in the championship. To move from that German-based series upto the British GT championship is a very big step forward on the motorsport ladder; whether or not he can cope at this level of competition remains to be seen.

Sailesh will take part in the Lotus Evora GT4 car (which took three wins last season) and this car will run in all seven scheduled events. Six of the events take part in the UK and one is at the famous Nürburgring in Germany.

As part of the announcement, Sailesh said: 

"Being associated with such a well-known name in racing is a great opportunity for me, especially one with such a rich pedigree across a uniquely wide range of disciplines. But I don’t take it as a pressure, I take it as a privilege – I’ll be driving for the same brand as some of my all time heroes and sporting legends and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Meanwhile Lotus Sport UK team manager, Gary Ayles stated:

"Sailesh is a strong talent that hadn’t been discovered in Europe, until now. I first got to know him and his father through my contacts in India, having been involved with the A1GP India team and raced over there in F3. We kept in contact and now Sailesh has come of age and is ready to race here in Europe with our team. You need to keep an eye on this lad, he’s a star in the making".

Of course Auto India Sports will follow Sailesh in every race and provide results and insight for your enjoyment.


The votes have been counted!

The Federation of Motor Sports Clubs in India (FMSCI) who are the governing body of motorsports within India have had elections to see who will be president in 2012.

Unanimously, members of the FMSCI re-elected Vicky Chandhok once again! This is surely down to the success of the Indian GP in which Vicky played a crucial role.

(left to right: Vijay Mallya (chairman of the FMSCI and chairman/team principle of Force India F1), Jean Todt (president of the FIA) and Vicky Chandhok).
(click to enlarge)

On re-election he stated:

"2011 was a historic year for Indian motorsport as we hosted our first ever Formula one grand prix and the year ending FIA AGM and gala. It is imperative that we continue to develop the sport and the infrastructure. It is very important for India now to be seen as a team player and therefore all people nominated to the commissions are delegates with experience and people that can contribute to the running and administration of global motorsport. While it’s important to contribute to global motorsport, our delegates however need to strike a balance to ensure India benefits as a motorsport destination from the appointments of various commissions. This worked very well in the case of Formula one where years of solid interaction finally resulted in the olympics of motorsport coming to India. Similar are the goals for our various delegates in these commissions".

Vicky also went on to say: “The FIA flagged off their action for road safety campaign in 2011 as well and were very keen that the FMSCI align with some of the aspects of road safety in India. To make further rapid strides in Indian motorsport, involvement from vehicle manufacturers is of paramount importance. The last fortnight has been hectic in meeting with International auto manufacturers such as Audi, VW, Toyota, Mercedes, Maruti, Yamaha, TVS and Honda to further the growth in all forms of Indian motorsport”

Mr. Raj Bharat has been elected as vice president.


Hello again!

Just a couple of things to inform you guys of:

Watch and listen to Paul Di Resta as he discusses his F1 journey so far and also Force India at the autosport show right here:

Meanwhile, in a rather lovely piece of news, Machdar Motorsports, the promoter of the i1 super series have launched their "My i1 Day" campaign! The objective of the campaign is to improve road safety and awareness among school children within India.

Darshan M, CEO of Machdar Motorsports said:

"It gives me immense pleasure to announce the launch of 'My i1 Day' across schools in the country. We are initiating the program keeping in mind the dates of road safety week".

Vicky Chandhok (president of the FMSCI) also had his say:

"The i1 Day is a great campaign initiated by Machdar Motorsports. It is in line with the FIA’s objective to promote road safety and sustainability at all levels in every country across the world. Our road cars have made huge steps forward in terms of safety equipment but both human driving behaviour and the road themselves need to be improved drastically in our country. Road safety education for the young population is the way to go and schools are the ideal place to start creating this awareness of how important it is to be safe on our roads. The motorsport community has a huge role to play and the FMSCI is glad to support a great initiative like this"

We LOVE this news at Auto India Sports, as you've probably noticed we care very much about road safety and this can ONLY be good news :-)


Top three for Force India?

All Force India fans MUST watch this short ESPN report on the team - it's a great way to get excited for the 2012 F1 season as Force India's sporting director, Andy Stevenson, says:

"realistically we have to say the top three"

This is very promising going forward into the new season. We are planning a write up on Force India's 2012 prospects at some point in the near future, stay tuned for that!

Meanwhile we have our first picture of the VJM05 (2012 Force India challenger), as tweeted by the team on twitter (@clubforce)

(click to enlarge)

That's Paul Di Resta sat in the car having his seat fit for the new season. Speaking of Paul, he discussed the VJM05 at the Autosport show which was held in Birmingham from the 12th-15th January and he described the new car as a "bathtub". We're pretty sure this is relating to the fact that the car is currently one colour though and not a comment about speed! =p

Anyhow a few other stories for you guys; the i1 super series has been pushed back with calendar alterations. The season will now kick off on 11th February at the Losail International Circuit in Doha, Qatar. Interestingly the Malaysian race has been dropped in favour of a second race in the UAE. Read everything you need to know about the series, including the updated calendar here.

Lastly, how often do you find yourself longing to get closer to the motorsport action? Now, you can!

For a fee of Rs.15,000 you can get the chance to drive around the Buddh International Circuit practically all day (8:30am to 5:00 pm) on 19th February. There will also be three more opportunities like this during the year according to Arjun Chopra (the man behind the initiative). Read more on this great opportunity here - if you are going to do this we would love to hear from you, please get in touch =)

That's all for now, have a nice Monday!


Karun Chandhok has a drive!

It's probably not the F1 drive he was hoping for but nevertheless Karun has been signed for 2012 which is a big story!

Karun will race in the inaugural season of the FIA World Endurance Championship for LMP1 team JRM Racing. LMP1 is the top class in the series so he has the potential to win races with his car.

For those who don't know about the championship, take a look a brief preview video here:

Karun said:

"I'm very excited to join JRM Racing for the new World Endurance Championship this year. Of course, I am very happy to be racing again. At the end of 2011, we explored the options to race in F1 and when it didn't look like a possibility, I decided to look outside and the WEC presents the next best option. The cars are capable of speeds of over 360kmh, the calendar is fantastic and the quality of teams and drivers are very high".

The series has eight races over the season including Spa (Belgium), Silverstone (Britain) and Interlagos (Brazil). Furthermore, as part of this series, Karun will be entered into the legendary Le Mans 24 hour race (counting towards the championship as a double points weekend).

We'd all love to see the Indian driver in F1 - he may still confirm a reserve role in F1 in 2012 - but this will be a very exciting adventure indeed for him and just by writing this article i've gotten myself more excited about what the season has in store for Karun! :-)


Force India: on target!

The Force India VJM05 (the 2012 car) has now passed the FIA's mandatory crash tests ahead of pre-season testing in Jerez, Spain on 7th February.

The teams technical director, Andrew Green stated:

"We're on schedule, that's the good news, it's been a little bit tougher this year, having to homologate the chassis prior to testing. So there was a little bit of extra planning involved to get that sorted. The chassis has been homologated since December. There were a lot of fingers crossed! You're hoping everything does what all the analysis says it should have done. It's always nice when you reel off the tests one-by-one without any dramas at all. It's a real credit to everybody. It was such a close 2011 season, fighting where we were fighting in those last few races, we didn't know which way it was going to go. We weren't really anticipating such a strong response from Toro Rosso near the end of the season - they seemed to have a reasonable upgrade around Suzuka time. It's quite unusual for a team to come up with such a huge change so late in the season. So the concentration was right until the last race in Brazil. You could say that, from that point on, it's been 100 per cent focus on the new car for us".This news is ONLY good news for Force India; if there is any major reliable flaw discovered in pre-season testing then there is time to put it right, if not then this gives the team greater development time =) 

This approach is really different from 2011 where the team only really started their season in race five, Spain; using the first four races as extra development time. That system worked well, let's hope this new system does too!


News rou ... (you know the title!)

Alright some more news for you guys; those who read the last article will understand the title of this post; if not don't worry about it =)

First up the FIA have published their list of staff for various commissions for the 2012 season and to everybodys surprise eight Indians have been included!

The list
B. Vijayakumar (single seaters)
Farhan Vohra (circuits)
J. Balamurugan (drag racing)
Manjeev Bhalla (cross country rally)
Manvendra Singh (historic motorsport)
Prabha Shankar (volunteers/officials)
Shivu Shivappa (rally)
Vicky Chandhok (CIK: Commission Internationale de Karting)

All these people work for the FMSCI (Federation of MotorSports Clubs India, the governing body of motorsport within India) and were nominated by the president of that organisation Vicky Chandhok (also Karun Chandhok's father). The fact that eight Indians have been selected by the FIA really shows that they trust Indian knowledge and leadership, it's a major step forward for motorsport within India.

Vicky Chandhok stated:

"FIA has now got confidence in the Indian federation and its people. Now that the nominations are through, we need to gain the stability to contribute and make a difference. It's not an easy task, though. It will take a year or two to understand the global functioning, and a few more years to ensure stability".

Next up is news from the Buddh International Circuit. Yesterday the Mercedes Benz AMG performance driving academy was launched at the circuit in a small ceremony - there are some good pictures available to view here. Mercedes launching this academy in India once again shows that people/organisations are beginning to have real faith in the nation as a motorsport country =)

And finally for now, driver news! Having spent the last three seasons in F2, Armaan Ebrahim has decided to switch to the predominately US-based Firestone IndyCar Lights Championship for 2012! The team he joins; Fan Force United, are also new to the series for 2012 so it should be an interesting combination! The ultimate aim for Armaan is still thought to be Formula One and this certainly would be an unusual route to take however it is very possible.

Our "Indian Motorsport Connections" list (on the left of this page) will be updated over the coming weeks as will the supported drivers page - stay tuned for that! =)


News roundup!

The "news roundup!" headline is becoming a regular thing here during the off-season purely because i am struggling to think of decent headlines >_< Feel free to send in your suggestions haha! =)

Anyway back to motorsport ... Swiss driver (of Indian origin) Neel Jani has given a brief but interesting interview about the upcoming i1 super series which is available to read here.

Sticking with i1, team owner of Delhi Gypsies and Billionaires, Arindam Chaudhuri; has told the media some potentially exciting news for the fans. He stated:

It's fabulous to know that our team will have one of these drivers who have been F1 stars, this is the thrill of motorsports, especially of this SR3 radical race car we are using for the i1 series. There are two seats, and we will announce various promotional competitions soon, by which winners will be able to take this thrilling ride with a Formula One racer".

We will post information about these promotional competitions as soon as we have it!

Now to F1; there is a great article online here about the success of the Indian GP - well worth a read.
Since the success of the Buddh International Circuit (latest pictures here) we have heard roomers of new tracks to be built all over the place; Bangalore, Chennai, Goa and Mumbai. However now the roomers of a Goa track are building momentum, read the story of the possible Goa circuit here. Personally a track in Goa would be very special for me given that is where i grew up when i was very young; i have always felt like Goa was my home so i really hope there is some substance to these reports!

And finally; Force India driver Paul Di Resta has told autosport.com that he thinks Force India can break into the top five in the constructors championship. Read that story here.

Okay, that's all from me for now - i'm off to come up with some ideas for future headlines!!