11/05/2012

What's happening this weekend?

We have the six Sahara Force India drivers in action this weekend (yes, six!).

Firstly let's start with the academy boys; Arjun Maini, Jehan Daruvala and Tarun Reddy. They will be taking part in the second race of their young careers at the Whilton Mill kart track in the UK. Indian star Karun Chandhok often does laps around this circuit (his local track) however this weekend the on-track action will be all part of the Super One Championship. We're not going to go into too much detail on this yet as we'll have a major feature on the three Sahara Force India hopefuls in the near future.

Paul di Resta, Nico Hulkenberg and Jules Bianchi will all be getting F1 mileage meanwhile during race five of the 2012 FIA F1 World Championship in Spain.

Race drivers Paul and Nico will have the aim of scoring points, however this weekend is about more than just points. As this will be the first of the European races, and the first race since the Mugello test, performance of the car relative to other teams is crucial as it will give an insight into how the rest of the season will play out. Everyone associated with the team will be hoping that a big step forward has been made! Upgrades for this race include a new exhaust system, an update to the front wing and undertray, plus slight revisions to the sidepods and rear wing.

Here are what the main players had to say:

Paul di Resta
(Sahara Force India driver):
"There's still plenty of work to do in free practice to get on top of the car, but we've already done the basic checks. I probably know Barcelona better than any other track on the calendar. We did two tests there in the winter and I had four days in the car so I already feel quite well prepared, but it's the same for everyone. I expect the field to be incredibly close once again".

Nico Hulkenberg (Sahara Force India driver):
"It's a track I enjoy and where I've been successful in the past. It's high-speed, there are lots of right hand corners and it's quite tough physically, especially on your neck. As a city I enjoy being in Barcelona because it’s a great place with a nice atmosphere. Also, the stands are always full on race day because the Spanish fans love Formula One. The first sector through turns one, two and three is tricky and you need to treat them as one corner. A mistake in one or two will hurt you through three and cost your lap time. It feels great when you get them just right. Also, the final sector is quite technical: it's slow and twisty, especially the last chicane and it’s easy to drop time at the end of the lap".

- Additionally, Nico Hulkenberg was one of the drivers selected for the Thursday press conference, you can watch that here.

Vijay Mallya (Sahara Force India team principal):
"Now that the European season is upon us, we should be able to bring through more updates to the car. That will start this weekend when we run with some of the new parts we evaluated in Mugello last week. However, we have to remember that most teams will make a development step for Barcelona so it remains to be seen how this will impact on our relative performance. As well as developments for the car we are pushing hard to maximise the strategies and the drivers are delivering excellent performances in the races. That's so important this year with the margins between the teams so tight. If we can continue to deliver like we did in Bahrain then we should be able to remain in the hunt for points this weekend".

While we're on the subject of Sahara Force India, the team launched their new TV feature as part of the pre-weekend build-up. Watch episode one right here:


Also, let's not forget the Indian driver on the grid, Narain Karthikeyan. His team, HRT, have a small aerodynamic upgrade package on the car this weekend despite missing the Mugello test to focus on relocation (of their headquarters to Madrid). Hopefully this package can push them a bit closer towards Marussia, the team ahead in terms of pace.

The other thing to mention is that we'll have driver changes for FP1, Bianchi will be in the car for the first practice session at Sahara Force India and down at HRT Narain Karthikeyan will be giving up his seat to reserve driver Dani Clos. We'll see the regular line-up from FP2 onwards however.

We wish Narain and the Sahara Force India guys the very best of luck this weekend! :-)

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