18/03/2012

Pre-Race Analysis

Today is going to be a very interesting day for the Sahara Force India boys, here is what they said post qualifying:

Nico Hulkenberg (driver):
"I'm very happy with today's result because I was not sure we would be able to make Q3. We did a good job after FP3 to improve the set-up and I'm feeling much more comfortable with the car now. Obviously going into the race there is some uncertainty because we haven't really done many runs on high fuel here because of the wet sessions yesterday, but all the teams are in the same situation. It’s the same case with the tyres because we will still be learning about them tomorrow and discovering how long they last. It should be an exciting race and I’m looking forward to it".

Paul Di Resta (driver):
"It was quite a difficult session and I never quite got it together. I think my out lap was compromised by traffic and, as a result, I didn't get the tyres in their working range, which hurt my quick lap. So there's a lot of work to be done tomorrow and I need to work hard tonight to see if there's anything that can be done overnight to improve things for tomorrow. Over the winter our long run pace has looked quite strong so hopefully I can move forward in the race and challenge for some points".

Robert Fernley (deputy team principle):
"I think we can come away feeling pretty satisfied with today's performance. Nico has done an outstanding job all weekend and managed to squeeze the maximum from the car in Q2 and Q3. There are some quick cars behind, but I'm confident that we can have a strong race from there and remain in the hunt for points. As for Paul, he’s in the thick of the midfield battle and will need to fight hard to move forward in the race. He didn’t have the best run in Q2 due to some tyre issues, which compromised his only timed lap at the end of the session. We know he’s a fighter and hopefully he can make some progress in the race".

I urge fans to remember that this is just one race in a twenty race season; what will be more important today is our pace. Hopefully at some point during the GP there will be a time when both Force India's are in clear air so we can analyse their laptimes in comparison to other drivers and other teams.

Having said that, the team and all fans will dearly be hoping for a solid points finish with at least one car today (most likely Nico who starts in P9). There are a few pitfalls to watch out for around the Australian track though, for instance on the first lap i will be very surprised if there isn't a collision - the nature of the track means a high safety car probability. This also means that tyre wear and strategy will be crucial! Additionally, the news i'm getting from the track is that dark clouds are currently moving in - no rain is expected for the race but no clouds were expected either! Whatever happens, we're in for a brilliant race, i'm sure of that!

Unfortunately the stewards have decided to NOT let Narain Karthikeyan and his teammate take part in the race. This comes after the two drivers failed to be within 107% of the fastest laptime in Q1. It's disappointing for the only Indian on the grid, but i can understand the stewards decision on the grounds of safety, those HRT cars are simply too slow - allowing them to race would be like having two movable chicanes.

Of course we'll have reports, views and analysis post-race, stay tuned for that! :-)

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