Force India drivers fail to make top-ten in qualifying

Force India endured a disastrous qualifying session, as both drivers failed to get into the top-ten shootout.

Although he had been fastest in Friday’s first practice session, Adrian Sutil could not propel his VJM03 any higher than fourteenth on the grid.

However, the German’s effort was hampered by problems in Saturday’s final practice in which he was forced to change his gearbox – forcing stewards to hand him a five-place grid penalty.

Team-mate Tonio Liuzzi suffered an even greater disappointment when he crashed out during Q1.

The Italian driver lost control of his car on the final turn and spun into the pit wall. As a result, the 28-year-old will start tomorrow’s race from twenty-second on the grid.

Adrian Sutil – 14th: Not really such a great day for us! The weekend started so well and in the rain the car was so strong, but it’s not gone right today. This morning I had a problem with the driveshaft and missed the whole session. We also had to change the gearbox as a result of the problem so we knew that we would be facing a tough challenge with the five place penalty we would get. Then in qualifying I didn’t have any grip and the car was sliding around and we were only quick enough for 14th place. All the same it’s only qualifying and there’s a long race tomorrow where anything can happen.With a good strategy we can always go for a good result.

Tonio Liuzzi – 22nd: I had had a good couple of laps but then I hit a wet patch on the kerb or on the grass that wasn’t visible from the track and it then started the accident. I lost the rear and was pushed out quite strongly across the track and into the wall. I wasn’t hurt, but it’s such a shame as we lost the qualifying and now have to start far down the grid. We can still make up some places as we showed in the last race in Silverstone where I came back to 11th and under a second from the points, so the race pace is very strong – let’s see what we can do.

Otmar Szafnauer, chief operating officer: Obviously we’re disappointed with the session today. We were hoping for more in qualifying but had technical problems with the driveshaft failure on Adrian’s car in FP3, which compromised his performance in qualifying. Tonio then had an accident at the last corner, which eliminated him in Q1. But as we always say there’s no points for qualifying. Our long run pace this weekend on both cars has been strong and both Adrian and Tonio are real fighters who will keep pushing until the flag. They have fought hard in the past and, even after the difficulties today, are exceptionally motivated to do it again here in Hockenheim.