Sunday Analysis

So, 11th & 12th for the Sahara Force India drivers. As we expected, no points, however there are many positives to draw on.

First of all, our rivals didn't score too many points this weekend:

Constructors championship (5th-8th)
5) Mercedes (106 pts) (+1)
6) Sauber (80) (+0)
7) Williams (53) (+6)
8) Force India (46) (+0)
Note: numbers in green represent the points scored this weekend.

It's of major benefit to the team that the other midfield rivals didn't score too well this weekend. From the next race onwards is when Sahara Force India will be strong and results today meant that the gap to 5th place isn't too big; 60 points. There are nine races to go so that means we need an average of 6.66 points more than Mercedes each weekend. It's do-able for sure!

(A beautiful shot of the Force India boys running in 11th & 12th, click to enlarge)

It was expected that we'd be slow this weekend, due to the high track temperates - but actually, that wasn't the case! The race pace was actually pretty good - on par with all our close rivals (excluding Bruno Senna who was out-performing his car this weekend). Surprisingly, points were possible this weekend. The data shows that if Nico Hulkenberg had pitted on the same lap as Nico Rosberg (instead of one lap before), he would have kept the Mercedes driver behind and snatched 10th place! The team were not to know this at the time though - we only know with the benefit of hindsight, so it's not their fault. Actually, if Nico Hulkenberg didn't make a mistake in qualifying, and qualified 6th (that's what he was on target for with an optimal laptime). He would have finished the race in 8th with his pace.

Sure, it's disappointing that we had a chance for points, and didn't manage to take that chance. But what is very encouraging going forward is that the upgrades put on the car for this race (including some from Britain & Germany that couldn't be tested previously, due to wet Fridays) seem to have considerably helped the high tyre wear issue. In fact today we had a better tyre wear rate than the Sauber's which is highly unusual!

I haven't discussed Paul di Resta much, he did a decent job today, lapping at a similar pace to Nico and finishing just 5.6 seconds behind the German driver. He did have one scary moment when Pastor Maldonado broke a little too late and under-steered into the side of the VJM05. Paul was nudged off the track and lost the position to the Venezuelan driver. Thankfully Pastor was (correctly) given a drive-through penalty.

(The damaged caused to Paul's car by Pastor - look at the R in Sahara, click to enlarge)

So in summary; decent pace (despite what Nico says below), a lack of points for our rivals & solid improvement to the tyre wear issue - a good weekend all in all!

This is what the guys had to say:

Nico Hulkenberg (Sahara Force India driver):
"A very difficult race, to be honest. I struggled a lot with the balance this afternoon and we just didn't have good enough pace. The rear tyre degradation was also high and it wasn't easy towards the end of the race. So with all things considered I think P11 was the maximum that was possible because we didn't make any mistakes and the two-stop strategy was definitely the right decision. We were not far away from the points, but we still need to go away and analyse what happened so that we can improve in time for the next race".

NOTE: These comments are made before the engineers briefing, Nico was factually wrong when he said: "and we just didn't have good enough pace". The data shows the pace was as good as rivals. Maybe he thought this as he started P10 and finished P11.

Paul di Resta (Sahara Force India driver):
"I don't think P12 is a fair reflection of the speed we had in the car today. My race was compromised by a poor start and I lost a few positions going into turn one. I had the same issue in Germany last week so we need to understand how we can improve that going forward because it's hurting our track position. The first few laps were quite tough but the car came alive after lap four and brought me back into contention. Unfortunately it was impossible to maximise the speed of the car because there was no chance to overtake and once the pit stops were complete it was just a case of bringing the car home".

Vijay Mallya (Sahara Force India driver):
"We've shown flashes of speed this weekend, but ultimately we haven't been consistent enough to achieve our goal of finishing in the points. We didn’t qualify well enough and that hurt us this afternoon because there was little chance to progress on a track where overtaking is so difficult. There was no room to improvise with the strategy and our two-stop approach was definitely the right call considering the cars that we were racing against. We will take the positives from the last few days and try to understand where we can find more performance so that we can come back stronger after the summer break".

So that's SFI covered, let's move onto Narain Karthikeyan.

The Indian had a start to his race, keeping pace with de la Rosa and having enough speed to stay ahead of Timo Glock who spun early on. After the first stops, Timo got past Narain thanks to being on the quicker, soft tyres. From then on Narain was able to keep pace with de la Rosa until near the end of the race when the Indian's suspension began to fail.  Four laps before the end it did fail completely, and we saw Narain in the barriers.

(Narain Karthikeyan leading Timo Glock during the first stint, click to enlarge)

Narain will be disappointed to not finish the race, but he should be encouraged by the pace he was able to show.

Narain Karthikeyan (HRT driver):
"I had a good start to the race, maintaining Pedro's pace and running ahead of Glock after his spin. But after the first pitstop he was running very strong on softs, I was on mediums, and he overtook me. It was also very complicated to manage the blue flags, especially because there were so many of them. With five laps to go, the car was steering to the right, it was getting worse, and coming out of turn 3 the steering broke, so we have to figure out what happened exactly. It was a tough race, but we must continue working to improve when we return from the summer break".


  1. first of all Nice analysis Peter
    I dont think Narain hit the barriers..i think he was able park the car safely near barriers coz his steering column broke. It didn't look like he collided the car! I may be wrong!

  2. Thanks!

    You may be right about Narain, but actually it wasn't the steering column that broke, it was the suspension that broke (which led to a steering failure). I'm just assuming the car hit barrier when the suspension failed (as there would have been no warning and it would have been at high speed). Unfortunately, the World feed didn't catch the incident :-(

  3. LOL...yah nobody knows what happened exactly!

  4. We'll find out for sure when the FIA race review comes out :-)

  5. what "data" are u referring to here....". The data shows that if Nico Hulkenberg had pitted on the same lap as Nico Rosberg (instead of one lap before)"

  6. Good question!

    In this circumstance, data refers to laptimes, traffic and the time spent in the pit lane :-)

  7. Any idea about Kobayashi's future?...or he would be a reserve driver somewhere?..this is something i really cant think

  8. Why would he drop to a reserve driver?? He's got tonnes of potential, i'm sure he'll still be at Sauber next season, if not, somewhere higher up the grid!

    1. Nope it looks like he wont stay anymore with Sauber. or as u said he will go to a top team!

  9. ohhh k....i thought u had some secret data dat i dnt hav access to lol

    1. All the public data is on the F1 Media Centre: http://www.fia.com/en-GB/mediacentre/f1_media/Pages/event-information.aspx

      There are other sources of information, but you need to know the right people ;-)

    2. ohh i c.... and i dnt think all tracks from here on will suit us for sure... japan, korea and even india can be bad, besides last year at tracks like singapore we wer gud cuz of the off throttle blowing, which obviously hurts us now cuz of d ban!, probably dats y sauber is so fast as dey didnt use it last season and used der resources sumwer else!

    3. All the remaining tracks should suit our car actually, the characteristics needed around these tracks will suit the VJM05.

      You are right about the off-throttle blown diffusers, but it's banned for everyone, not just Force India. Every team (except possibly Marussia & HRT) had some sort of blown diffuser system, including Sauber.

      Sauber aren't any quicker than Force India in terms of car speed, the difference is that their car (apart from the last race) is not as hard on its tyres which means that they can make one less pit-stop and gain an advantage.

    4. i knw its banned for everyone, and yes saubers are very quick on long corners, we have better traction out of the slow corners...

  10. It's not as simple as that though, depends on the type track surface too :-)

  11. im sure its not... lets c how different d cars r to drive in f1 2012..

  12. You mean the game? They should be easier to spin lol

    1. lol i heard its gonna b better den 2011...

    2. Well, basic development should make it better :p


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