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Japanese GP: Practice notes - Force India

NEWS STORY
02/10/2009

Heavy rain over the 5.807km Suzuka circuit made the opening day of practice for this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix a near washout at times, with the morning's session damp but passable and the afternoon a close non-starter as puddles and rivers covered the track for the first hour, with only the final 10 minutes allowing the field to venture out to complete flying laps.

The Force India Formula One Team performed extremely well in the changeable, difficult conditions with Adrian Sutil setting the quickest time of the afternoon on the drenched track. Tonio Liuzzi was just 0.6 secs behind with the third fastest lap.

In the morning Adrian was consistently amongst the quickest and, despite only completing 14 laps, recorded the third best time of FP1. Tonio Liuzzi similarly did just 15 laps and was 12th fastest after losing some time on his potentially fastest lap with some traffic and then understeer, which caused him to lock up going into the final sector.

Adrian Sutil: I've had a lot of experience at this track from 2006 when I was here in Japanese F3 and I really like this circuit. It's a great track with lots of fast and high speed corners and a nice flow. We didn't get the chance to do much driving today unfortunately. It was a really easy session this afternoon - just 10 minutes and my first lap was P1! This morning we did just 14 laps and things went quite well. I was confident we would be back on the pace in Suzuka and at the moment it looks like this: overall we are looking much better than in Singapore. But still nobody really knows the score about the weather and dry set-ups so it will be an interesting weekend for sure.

Tonio Liuzzi: Today was quite a positive day even though the weather didn't help us. It was a difficult situation and tomorrow it seems like it is going to change again. Overall the car worked very well in the wet weather conditions and also with the intermediate tyre balance and finally in the last five minutes we could try the extreme wet balance too. Everything is responding and working well, although we do know tomorrow could be different if the weather changes, but we are optimistic.

Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer: Two completely wet sessions today, with a large part of the afternoon being just too wet to run. This circuit has a few areas where the gradient sets up rivers and puddles that can cause aquaplaning. It was possible to evaluate both the intermediate and wet tyre performance for both drivers, and gather some data despite the conditions. Our performance in the wet looks quite strong, but of course the forecast now is for predominantly dry conditions, so there is plenty to do tonight to prepare for the weekend.

  • To check out our Suzuka practice gallery, click here
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