Korean Grand Prix Preview – Force India
Chairman and Team Principal, Dr. Vijay Mallya looks back on the Japanese Grand Prix.
Dr. Mallya, the race in Suzuka was a tough one for Force India. What was your verdict on the result?
I think on the whole we delivered a reasonable level of performance, but we simply lost out due to the way the race unfolded – namely the safety car at half distance. I’m not trying to make excuses, but without it I believe our strategy could have been more fruitful. That’s all part of motor racing: sometimes these things work for you and sometimes against you. Usually over the year things tend to even out.
There are just four races remaining – are your sights still fixed on fifth in the constructors’ championship?
Absolutely. There is still a long way to go and we have to believe it is still possible. I said before that we will need some luck to do this, but the upcoming tracks could easily throw up some surprises. So we need to be ready to capitalise on any opportunities. What is clear is that we have inherent pace in the car and we just need to keep delivering it, picking up points and then see where we are come the end of the year.
Adrian on Korea
Adrian’s thoughts on the return to Yeongam and his performance so far this season.
Adrian, we’re back in Korea for the second time. What do you remember about the first race last year?
It was a very wet weekend for all of us but the track was very nice. When we arrived it still needed some work doing with some kerbs missing, but the general layout was nice with a good flow. It may have changed a bit this year because nearly all tracks develop bumps in the braking zones – that’s just what happens when you have Formula One cars running because of the forces involved.
Which parts of the lap stuck in your mind?
The first sector is mainly straights and hairpins, which is ideal for overtaking, while the second and third sectors have some high-speed corners. I particularly liked the direction changes through turns seven, eight and nine. And the last sector has lots of changes of direction one after the other – a bit like the first sector at Suzuka. So there is a good mix of everything.
As we approach the end of the year, are you pleased with how things are going?
Personally I feel I’ve been very consistent this year. I’ve not made many mistakes and I’m pleased with the results we’ve achieved as a team. This year it’s the opposite of last year because we are getting stronger at the end of the year. That’s why these last few races are so important and we have to get the most from them.
Paul on Korea
Paul Di Resta gears up for his first Korean Grand Prix.
Paul, let’s look back on the weekend – did you enjoy your first Japanese Grand Prix?
I definitely enjoyed the challenge of the track, but we came away a bit disappointed not to convert our strong start into points. The timing of the safety car made it hard to realise the full potential of our strategy. But we will take it on the chin and look to fight back in Korea.
Yeongam is another new track for you to learn – your third new track on the trot…
That’s right! In fact I’ve not raced at any of the remaining tracks on the calendar. I did the young driver test at Abu Dhabi last year, but the rest are unknown to me. I’ve visited all these places and walked the tracks last year, but there’s only so much you learn from that. Plus, for Korea I’ve only done half a day in the simulator so there’s lots for me to get to grips with.
What can you tell us about the circuit from your limited knowledge?
It’s another technical lap with some quite distinctive sectors and different characteristics. There are some slower, more technical parts to the lap in the first sector, which should play to our strengths, while the second and third sectors are high-speed and have a nice flow. Also, Pirelli are bringing the soft and super soft tyres, which is a combination that tends to work quite well for us.
Whyte & Mackay City Guide
Our team partner, Whyte & Mackay, makers of Scotch whisky, give some survival tips for a week in Korea.
Where to visit?
Yeongam is known for its superb natural scenery, rich history and culture. Two of the best places to visit are Gurim Village, which is a 2,200 year-old village that was created during the time of the Confederated Kingdoms of Samhan. The village is set at the western base of Mount Woulchul, which is also a national park with stunning scenery.
Where to stay?
Hyundai Hotel Mokpo is a five star property that overlooks the blue waters of the Dadohae River towards the heart of the city. It’s an excellent place to eat too with a popular a la carte menu.
If you want a seaside resort, the Shangria Hotel is another popular Mokpo destination. Situated on a beautiful beach in downtown Mokpo, it’s a comfortable place and serves plenty of western-inspired dishes in its many restaurants. It’s also famous for serving some of the best seafood in the city.
Where to drink?
WABAR in Mokpo is a great place to enjoy a few drinks after the race. Although it’s a franchise in Korea, it is one of Mokpo’s most popular and friendly bars.
Best whisky bar
Hwa Bar is probably one of the best in Mokpo. With a vast selection of whiskies available you can sit back and enjoy life in these comfortable surroundings. Other whisky bars worth a visit include AD:Sang-dong and Jeon-nam.
Meet The Force
Let’s meet the team’s IT guru at the track, Rob Hardwidge, who has been with the team just over seven years.
Sum up your job in three words…
Airports, cables, airports.
How many metres of cable do you take to each race?
I probably take around 500 metres but how much I use varies with each event.
What is your best Force India moment?
Undoubtedly Fisi’s podium in Belgium 2009. When we ran to the podium all of the other teams stood clapping us, an amazing feeling!
How many computers run at the track during a race?
We would typically have around 40 to 50 servers in use with 40 odd laptops as well.
How do you relax away from F1?
I love to snowboard and go mountain biking. I’m also learning to kite surf.
Which are easier – European races or fly-aways?
Europeans are quicker on the whole because fly-aways often involve connecting together lots of different buildings.
Favourite venue on the calendar?
Monaco every time. I know it’s a cliché but there is definitely some motor racing magic there.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I can juggle and ride the unicycle, but not at the same time – I learnt that the hard way!
Your most embarrassing moment?
Probably Monza 2004. I was a motorsport rookie and still learning people’s names in the team. I put my foot in it when I asked Nick Heidfeld who he was and what he did for the team!