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Belgian GP: Practice notes - Force India

NEWS STORY
28/08/2009

The hills and valleys of the Ardennes forest reverberated with the sound of Formula One engines as practice for this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix got underway today at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

After rain blighted the morning session, most of the Force India Formula One Team's job list was condensed into the dry afternoon practice. With no further heavy showers predicted over the weekend, Adrian and Giancarlo ran just three laps on intermediate tyres and one later lap on extreme wets in the morning, Giancarlo being the quickest driver in the wet.

For the later practice the rain cleared, allowing an abbreviated programme of both long and shorter runs, tyre evaluation, gathering information on different wing levels and the handling of the VJM02 in low downforce configuration, which has not been used so far this season. Giancarlo recorded a quickest lap of 1:47.506, which placed him 6th fastest, while Adrian was two tenths slower in 13th.

The team will use tomorrow's final practice session to fine tune balance before qualifying takes place at 14:00hrs local time.

Adrian Sutil: It's great to be back at Spa this weekend. I really enjoy driving here, even in the wet. I'm quite happy with today. We had a lot of work to get through in the afternoon and trying to get the balance and the tyres to work took some time. We had quite a lot of understeer but when we understood it I felt much more comfortable in the car and with our pace. Unfortunately I got traffic on my last lap so the time isn't a true reflection of what we could do but I'm confident for tomorrow and maintaining our recent performance.

Giancarlo Fisichella: We had a lot of understeer at the beginning of the afternoon but we improved the balance of the car and made a good step forward for the last run of the day. My last lap was good and I'm happy I could record a quick time. We still need to work on the amount of understeer we have but apart from that today was not too bad. It's difficult to say where we will be tomorrow, but top 15 is realistic and of course we will try our best to get in the top 10 but it is going to be very difficult.

Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer: It wouldn't have been Spa without the wet session, and that meant our afternoon practice was slightly condensed in order to try and fit in all the work we had planned. Obviously here we need to evaluate wing levels and the effect that this has on speed and set-up, and also the Bridgestone medium and soft tyres that are available. The drivers reported some understeer, and there is still a bit of work to do on setup. It looks close again, and we will have to work hard to maintain our level of competitiveness from Valencia.

  • To check out our Spa practice gallery, click here
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