Force India not expecting repeat of 2009 performance

Force India has ruled out a repeat of last year’s stunning performance at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

The Silverstone-based team recorded its best-ever result during the 2009 event, with Giancarlo Fisichella recording its first pole position before following it up with a second place finish.

However, Adrian Sutil has played out the outfit’s chances of reaching such heights, despite the strong straightline speed of the team’s VJM03.

“Of course last year the team had a dream result at Spa, with the pole and then the podium,” Sutil said in the team’s Belgian Grand Prix preview, “So we’ll go back there with confidence knowing that this has been historically a track we’ve performed very well on. But this is 2010 and we have to look at what we are doing now rather than to the past.”

“I’m pretty confident that we’ve got a car that will still suit the track very well. We’ve still got a very strong straightline speed advantage and the F-duct makes us quickest through the speed traps at most circuits we go to – which will help us on the long straights in Belgium.”

“We will also test our new blown diffuser again on Friday here. It worked well in Hungary and gave an improvement over the normal floor so we’ll work through more development in practice and, if it performs as well as we hope, we’ll use it in the race.”

The German’s comments are echoed by team principal Vijay Mallya, who concedes that the competition for places has narrowed the gap between all the teams.

“We have a good car in low downforce trim, which counts at a track like Spa and Monza.” he said. “We also have a new rear wing package to use this race in conjunction with the F-duct, which is working very well.”

“Additionally we will be using the new blown floor on both cars on Friday. We tried it in Hungary, and we hope to actually race it in Spa if the information we gather shows as much of an improvement as it did there.

“All the same, we’re not pinning all our hopes on Spa and Monza. It’s going to be tough to replicate the kind of form we showed in Spa last year: everybody’s improved, the competition is fierce and also very even in the midfield – the gaps between teams is so small now.

“We have also shown that we have been regularly able to score points on virtually all the tracks, not just the low downforce ones – apart from the last two races, which were unlucky in various regards, we’ve been in the points at a variety of track configurations. ”

Meanwhile, test driver Paul di Resta will sit out Friday Practice at Spa with the team keen to allow its race drivers the chance to get to grips with new aerodynamic parts.

“Unfortunately I’m not going to be in the car this time out as Spa is a pretty unique track.” The Scot said. “We’ve also got some work to do on the new blown floor and the low downforce package so it’s natural we need to give the race drivers the additional time to properly evaluate.”

“I’m happy with this – although it’s always hard to sit out on such a great track – as it’s a team effort and we’ve got a big fight on our hands to hold onto sixth in the championship. I’ll get my chance in Monza, which I can’t wait for.”

Although not driving at Spa, di Resta has been working hard in the team’s simulator to help prepare the outfit for the Belgian Grand Prix.