Archive for March, 2011

Sutil joined the team in 2007

After finishing eleventh in Melbourne (and promoted to ninth following Sauber’s exclusion) Adrian Sutil spoke to Force India’s website:

 Q: There has been a lot to talk about this weekend. What’s your overall verdict?

It was quite an interesting weekend, I think! Everybody thought it was going to be challenging with new tyres, the wing, all the buttons, and everything that you had to do. But it turned out to be a normal race as usual.

Q: What did you think of the Pirelli tyres?

The tyres worked very well, and you could even do a one-stop strategy and it really worked! I had a similar feeling when I was on the soft or hard, the tyre was just lasting and lasting. It was really good. It was surprising, but I think it was a good job from Pirelli. Let’s see how it is in the next race in Malaysia. That’s going to be a little bit different on tyres, with extreme heat and high speed corners it is always challenging.

Q: What was your own tyre strategy?

I did option/prime/prime. I felt very comfortable on the prime all weekend, I could switch them on really well, so I decided on that strategy.

Q: How would you sum up the team’s weekend?

In general it was a good weekend for us. The car was not so bad. We expected the worst as the pace wasn’t there in Barcelona during testing. But here it was much better in qualifying, and in the race both cars finished, so it was a good result in the end.

Q: How did things go from the start?

I lost a little in the first corner. It looked like I was going to gain a little bit, but in the end there was a bit of a mess! The fight for position got a little too close for me and I did not want to lose my front wing, so I had to back off, and I lost three or four places. Then I thought, ‘OK, wait a few corners, they’re going to eliminate themselves anyway,’ and that’s how it happened. There were three or four cars out of the race and I was there where I wanted to be. So from that point of view it was quite good. I’ve had quite a few shunts in the first corner here, and I know if you just try to stay in the race you’re going to be well placed in the end.

Q: How did your race unfold after that?

It was OK, but I think I missed a position. I was fighting against Buemi at the beginning, once I fought past other cars. I was right behind him, and I went into the pits a lap later to have the extra lap advantage on new tyres. But the pit stop wasn’t so good, as we lost around four seconds with a problem with the left rear. I went out of pits still in front of him, but with new tyres you’re so slow in the first sector, and he passed me by going completely off track. Then Paul passed me, and I had to get past Paul again, and Buemi was gone.

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Ferrari's pre-season pace did not materialise

Former World Champion Fernando Alonso today described Ferrari’s sluggish performance in Australia as far from “disastrous” despite bosses flying back to Europe for emergency meetings.

The Spaniard, who won the title with Renault in 2005 and 2006, finished a lacklustre fourth and over thirty seconds behind Sebastian Vettel in Melbourne.

“It wasn’t the start that we all wanted but nor is it anything to get worried about,” he said.

“Twelve points is not far below the world champion’s average last year and two title contenders finished behind me. So, overall, the Australian Grand Prix can’t be defined as disastrous.”

Alonso may not have considered the performance as disastrous, but Stefano Domenicali and several chief engineers made an unscheduled stop back in Europe before the Malaysian Grand Prix to try and fathom what had gone wrong.

Alonso qualified in fifth but dropped to ninth on the first lap after being forced wide by Jenson Button’s McLaren.

“Certainly in qualifying we were very far from Vettel’s Red Bull and far from Hamilton’s McLaren but in the race the situation was different,” he said.

“The start was a pity. If I hadn’t found myself down in ninth place at the beginning of the first lap I’d have been able to fight to the finish for the two lower steps of the podium.”

It was the third time Alonso had finished fourth in the past four years.

Exclusion spoilt a solid weekend for Sauber

Sauber have decided not to appeal against their disqualification from the Australian Grand Prix last weekend.

Debutant Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi were stripped of their championship points after stewards ruled their rear wing contravened FIA regulations.

The ruling spoiled a fantastic weekend for the team with Perez and Kobayashi finishing seventh and eighth respectively after an impressive qualifying performance.

On Sunday evening Technical Director James Key said Sauber intended to appeal but they have since decided against it.

“It did not bring us any performance advantage, but the fact is that it was a deviation from the regulations. We take note of the stewards’ decision,” he said today.

Perez, 21, received praise up and down the paddock for his performance in Australia where he made just a single stop, while others needed three.

Team Principal Peter Sauber, before the disqualification was announced, said: “I would call this a dream start to the season, as we could not have expected this. It is also a well deserved reward for both drivers.

“Kamui’s eighth place was a superb job. I have no explanation for what Sergio did, and how he managed to do 35 laps with a set of used soft tyres setting consistent lap times.”

Force India pair of Adrian Sutil and Brit Paul di Resta were the main beneficiaries of Sauber’s disqualification. They now inherit ninth and tenth after originally finishing outside the points.