What's happening this weekend?

Three series and six drivers will be racing this weekend, here is a run down of the action to come:

Formula One
Let's start with the big action this weekend, round eight of the 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship, the European Grand Prix in Valencia, Spain.

Sahara Force India team principle, Vijay Mallya, has called on the team to recapture their form this weekend:

"The teams that we have been comparable with in the past few years like Sauber and Williams have been on the podium, and I'm sure our time will come, as long as we get things right. It's something we need to do sooner rather than later because we are quickly approaching the midway point of the season. I hope we can recapture our form in Valencia, return to the points and demonstrate our potential".

He will be at the race this weekend, along with his 95-metre yacht, the Indian Empress.

(The Indian Empress docked at Valencia Harbour)

As for Sahara Force India's chances, they'll be looking for solid points as usual. Here are what the drivers had to say ahead of the event:

Paul di Resta (Sahara Force India driver):
"It's a mix between a street circuit and a normal track and it's got a lot of corners to go with it - maybe the most corners of any circuit on the calendar. The track is very smooth but it's tricky to get on top of the set-up and if you don't find the sweet spot it can make quite a big difference to your lap time across such a long lap. The main challenge is to be strong in the low-speed chicanes and also through the high-speed end of the lap. There are some big braking zones too followed by big traction zones, so the degradation rate is quite high, which is why it’s hard to manage the rear tyres through the race. It's a fun place to visit. The city has nice architecture, some great restaurants and we stay next to the beach so I sometimes go for a jog in the morning. City races usually provide a good atmosphere on race day and there are always lots of British fans who come along and show their support".

Nico Hulkenberg (Sahara Force India driver):
"My race there in 2010 was not a particularly happy one. There was some bodywork burning away and I eventually had to retire. I'm looking forward to going back to Valencia because I like the track, even though we've seen how difficult it is to overtake there. The track has are a few special corners in the final sector of the lap and it's enjoyable to drive. It's also quite a long lap with 25 corners so it can be quite difficult to get a perfect lap together".

(At this point it's worth noting that reserve driver Jules Bianchi will be in the car for FP1).

In terms of the championship, this is how the constructors looks going into the weekend:

Constructors championship (5th-8th)
5) Mercedes (69 pts)
6) Sauber (58)
7) Williams (44)
8) Force India (28)

As for the drivers championship; Paul sits 12th on 21 points whereas Nico is 15th on 7 points. Both drivers can gain championship positions this weekend with strong results.

Before we move onto Narain Karthikeyan, we have a few more Sahara Force India things to inform you of. There was recently a FOTA fan forum held in Manhattan, United States. Present at the event was deputy team principle Robert Fernley and our British driver, Paul di Resta. To view videos of the event, including what Robert and Paul had to say, please visit the FOTA website here. Robert Fernley is on part two, Paul di Resta is on parts three & four. While we are an Indian motorsport blog, we do realise we have a large proportion of UK fans and so we thought we'd link you guys to this competition, run by Sahara Force India, for residents of the UK.

Right, now onto Narain. Here's what he had to say ahead of the European event:

Narain Karthikeyan (HRT driver):
"Valencia will be our third street circuit in a row, and our team's second home race. It is our second visit to Spain in just about five weeks but the circuit is as different as it could be compared to Barcelona. It shares some characteristics with Montreal and Monte Carlo, like emphasis on low-speed traction so I expect our car to do well here. Apart from that, it is a beautiful place and weather is pretty hot, just like India, but the track itself isn't a huge challenge. Yes the walls are close but the adrenaline factor isn't close to Monaco or even Montreal. But on the back of the promise we showed in Canada, I'm looking forward to the race and hopefully we'll have a chance to build on it this time".

Things looked good for the Indian-driver at the last race. The HRT team had a fantastic battle with the Marussia's and this weekend should be very similar; although HRT will be hoping the result is different come the race! Narain's target for the weekend is to grab a 14th place finish (or higher) to improve on his current best which is 15th in Monaco. For HRT, a 14th place will require some unreliability for other teams - Narain just needs to make sure that's he's in the right place should other cars have problems.

Formula Two
The aim for Parthiva Sureshwaren this weekend is simple; score points! He really needs this 25-race run of not scoring to come to an end this weekend at the wonderful Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.

What does work in favour for the Indian driver though is that he has a record of being quick with extended practice on circuits; and during the week there was an F2 test at Spa.

Here is how Parthiva got on during that test (held on Tuesday) which was split into five sessions:

Session #1: 13th (+1.959s down on the leader)
Session #2: 6th (+1.406s)
Session #3: No Time (did not take to the track due to rain)
Session #4: 14th (+5.961s) (affected by rain)
Session #5: 16th (+6.788s) (affected by rain)
Combined: 8th (+1.406s) (best laptime for each driver ranked)

We can't really read anything into sessions #3, #4 and #5 as there were rain affected and so results are very unreliable with drivers on different tyres compounds and so on. However what is encouraging is that Parthiva improved by half a second (relative to the leader) from session #1 to session #2. That was the 8th quickest time of the test overall; clearly he can be scoring points and this test should stand him in good stead for the two races this weekend.

What also works in Parthiva's favour is that results this season have shown an upward trend. So far six races completed as his final positions are as follows:

16th, 14th, 16th, 14th, 12th, 12th.

He is improving slowly but surely!

British GT Championship
Sailesh Bolisetti currently sits third in his championship with a real shot at the title! His aim will be a win, with British-temmate Phil Glew (two drivers per car in endurance racing) this weekend at Brands Hatch, UK.

The good thing for Sailesh is that Brands Hatch seems to suit Indian drivers. Karun Chandhok has previously stated that he loves the track and Narain Karthikeyan is always VERY strong around there. I'm not joking when i say any driver would struggle to beat Narain around Brands. Let's hope this trend continues for Sailesh!

Having retired from the last race due to a driveshaft failure the team, Lotus Sport UK, will be hoping for a good result and recent form suggests that Phil, and our man Sailesh, will be able to deliver.

We really hope for a great weekend for all our guys and wish them the very best of luck! :-)

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