Belgium Grand Prix Preview – Force India

2011 Belgian Grand Prix Preview

Vijay’s vision

Chairman and Team Principal, Dr. Vijay Mallya, looks ahead to the Belgian Grand Prix.

“I always enjoy coming to Spa. Not only is it an evocative and historic venue, it’s also the scene of our greatest success to date and I have many happy memories of our podium two years ago.

The big difference this year is that we arrive at the Belgian Grand Prix with a car that is much more complete. In the past our great strength was straight-line speed, but the car is now strong in all areas. The proof of that can be seen in our recent results with one car in Q3 at the last four races and 14 points from the last two.

So we enter the second half of the season in high spirits. The drivers are pushing each other hard and are extremely motivated. The car is delivering good performance and we are taking the fight to the big teams. It was hard to imagine we would be in this position after our slow start to the year, but I never stopped believing. When you consider how competitive Formula One is, everyone in the team can be proud of where we are.

We’re well aware there is much hard work ahead to maintain this and we still have a big task facing us in the constructors’ championship. But following the August break we come back refreshed and ready to deliver again this weekend.”

Adrian on Spa

Adrian Sutil can’t wait to get back to his favourite circuit on the calendar.

“I always say that Spa is my favourite circuit of the year. I just love the place. There’s nowhere else like it and the range of corners feel so impressive in a Formula One car. I think all the drivers have a big smile on their face when they come back to Spa.

I think we can have another competitive weekend because the last couple of races have shown what we are capable of. We seem to have a car that is working well everywhere and our qualifying and race pace has been strong. We just need to keep up the momentum and keep picking up the points.

When you come to Spa you always have to keep an eye on the weather. For the last three races it feels like the rain has been following us and we should probably expect some more rain showers this weekend.”

Paul on Spa

Paul Di Resta gets set for the Belgian Grand Prix.

“It feels good to be going back racing after a three-week break. I enjoyed the time off, which gave me a chance to recharge my batteries and switch off from Formula One for a while. I spent most of the time at home with friends and family. After so much travelling it was nice to stay in the same place for a while and sleep in my own bed.

The result in Hungary was the best way to end the first part of the season. There have been a few races where things didn’t go our way so it felt good to get the result we felt we deserved. It helped make up for some of the bad luck we’ve had over the last couple of months.

Spa is a track that has historically been strong for us. And our recent form gives us every reason to believe we can carry on where we left off in Hungary. We know our competitors won’t have stood still, but we’re still pushing hard with development and determined to get as much performance from the car before the focus shifts to next year.

Spa is not a track that I’ve raced at much before. I drove there in Formula 3 seven years ago, but I think it will be a completely different experience in a Formula One car. It’s one of the best tracks in the world and I’m excited to be going back there.”

Join us for the Taste of India

What better way to unwind on Friday night than by joining us for the Taste of India? With the Kingfishers on ice and Dave serving up his signature curry, it’s your chance to catch up with the team and drivers. Simply head along to the Force India hospitality at 18:30 on Friday. We hope to see you there.

Whyte & Mackay City Guide

Our team partner, Whyte & Mackay, makers of Scotch whisky, offer their tips for a weekend in Spa.

Where to visit?

No visit to Spa-Francorchamps would be complete without visiting a spa. Try Therme de Spa for its range of water-based therapies that are sure to relax you after a busy day at the track.

For a little culture visit the The Abbey of Stavelot which houses three museums and an Andy Warhol exhibition.

Where to drink?

If you’re feeling lucky you should visit the Casino de Spa.  It’s one of the oldest casinos in the world and serves up a delicious range of spirits and cocktails.

For top cocktails and dancing it’s got to be the Havana Cafe.  As its name suggests, they specialise in rum cocktails and also have a great selection of beer on offer.

Where to eat?

Spa is not short of great places to eat.  Le Bouchon Gourmand and Resturant L’art de Vivre are recommended for their relaxing ambience and superb food.

If Spa gets too busy, venture out to the town of Aubel where you will find Fiasko with a menu packed full of fresh local cuisine. After dining, head over to its ‘Daily Dram’ whisky bar and enjoy a glass of Dalmore 1992.

Where to stay?

The Hotel de la Source is a four star venue with a modern design and views of the circuit. If you’re looking for proximity to the track, this is as good as it gets.

If you want to be in the town of Spa, the Radisson Blue Palace is a good option and is within walking distance of the bars and restaurants.

Meet The Force
Let’s introduce Ian Strange, Force India’s reliability engineer, who joined the team back in the summer of 2007.

Sum up your job in three words…
Car Must Finish! Or Reliability! Reliability! Reliability!

The best thing about working at Force India?
I know it’s a cliché, but being part of a team and working with the people around you.

Best Force India moment?
Fisichella’s podium two years ago in Spa, but hopefully the best is yet to come!

Do you have any superstitions?
I don’t believe in any of that nonsense.

How did you become interested in engineering?
I come from a long line of engineers. My dad worked on Concorde as chief of weights and loads, and helped inspire me. He’s not been well lately – get well soon Dad!

Have the team given you a nickname yet?
Trust me, I’ve heard them all, but the most common is ‘Strange Ian’.

Favourite venue on the calendar and why?
Ask me again when I’ve done a full season. For now, Monza stands out as a special place.

If you had one wish, what would it be?
Obvious – three more wishes…

How do you relax or switch off from F1?
A three-hour drive home to Angela, Bean & Katy where I can enjoy Somerset village life.