As the Formula 1 circus gears up for the next Grand Prix in China, the Sahara Force India team is adamant that it has cured the wheelnut issues that robbed it of a solid haul of points last time out in Malaysia.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s race in Shanghai, team principal Vijay Mallya assured fans that the Silverstone-based team has worked hard to address the issues that saw both Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil forced to retire.
“We’ve had three weeks to understand what went wrong and have worked hard fix the root cause of the problem,” he said in the team’s official event preview.
“We have the potential to bounce back quickly and get a good result in Shanghai. Throughout the Sepang weekend, we had a quick car and the drivers felt good about their chances. We were confident of bringing both cars home in the points until the wheel nut issue let us down.”
The team’s Mercedes-powered VJM06 challenger has been one of the surprise packages of the season. Sutil twice led the Australian Grand Prix, and both he and di Resta showed solid pace in Sepang up to their retirements.
“It shows how far we have come as a team. In the past we used to hope for rain as our only chance to upset the front-runners, but now we are more competitive.
“I am confident we will put the disappointment of Malaysia behind us and bring home some big points.”
“We looked to be one of the fastest cars during the early part of the race. It’s a good sign for the rest of the season. We have been doing a good job so far – better than many people expected – but there’s a long way to go.”
For Sutil, the Shanghai International Circuit is not one where he has enjoyed good results in the past, with his best finish being an eleventh-placed effort in 2010. Nonetheless, he is confident that the car’s gentleness on its tyres will play into the team’s favour this weekend.
“It’s an interesting circuit, although it’s not one of my favourites,” he admits.
“The layout is not too different to Sepang, so it should suit us again and I hope we can be strong there. We will have a new tyre combination in China – the soft and the medium – and we appear to be quite good at managing our tyres so we need to use that to our advantage.”
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