2016 Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix – Preview
Sahara Force India looks forward to the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.
Q&A with Vijay Mallya
Team Principal, Vijay Mallya, hopes to see the VJM09 realise its true potential this weekend
Vijay, Sergio scored points in Russia, but it was another eventful race for the team…
VJM: “In Sochi we were the innocent victims of the first lap chaos – as was the case in Bahrain too. It’s frustrating because, even with the benefit of hindsight, it’s hard to see what we could have done differently. We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time with both cars, which caused a puncture for Sergio and ended Nico’s race. To see Sergio recover from the back of the pack and score points was a tremendous effort.”
Surely the team’s fortunes will start to change soon…
VJM: “I hope we’ve used up all of our bad luck already! We’ve yet to see how we perform in a clean, trouble-free race without safety cars, red flags or accidents. Despite not realising our potential in Sochi, we took encouragement from our qualifying and race pace: the car is improving and we’ve got a good base on which to build. There are 17 races to go and I’m confident the best is yet to come. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
You’ve spoken before about the Barcelona update package – what’s the latest news?
VJM: “It’s on schedule to be fitted to both cars ahead of Friday practice. It’s pretty comprehensive and the car will look quite different.”
Nico on Barcelona
Nico Hülkenberg looks forward to this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Nico: “When you get to Barcelona to start the European season, you start to realise just how quickly the year is passing. It’s a chance to get back into a normal routine because you don’t have so many long flights or time zone changes, so it’s a bit easier from that regard.
“I love the city of Barcelona and the Spanish lifestyle in the sunshine. We’ve already spent a couple of weeks there for winter testing, but when you come back for the race everything is different: the cars have evolved, the temperatures are warmer, and you have to work hard to find the right set-up. That’s why it’s a tricky circuit because confidence counts for a lot and, if you’re not totally comfortable, your lap times really suffer.
“I felt pretty disappointed about what happened in Sochi. In fact, things have gone against us for the last few races. We know we should have scored more points, but it’s impossible to plan for the bad luck we’ve experienced. I’m looking forward to a weekend where everything goes to plan so that we can show our true potential.”
Sergio on Barcelona
Sergio Perez gets ready for Barcelona and hopes to add to the points he scored in Sochi.
Sergio: “The atmosphere in Barcelona is always special and for me it’s one of the best tracks of the year. I enjoy the layout because it’s a true test of your car with a bit of everything, especially long, quick corners, which all the drivers enjoy. It’s a track where you feel the physical demands, especially on your neck, but overall it’s just a great place to experience a Formula One car. The only downside is that it’s difficult to overtake, but it’s still possible with DRS on the approach to turn one, especially if the car ahead is suffering with high tyre degradation.
“It was important to get back into the points in Russia. The car performed very well all weekend and I can feel the progress we’ve made since the start of the year. It was not a smooth race, but we didn’t give up and scoring two points was a good recovery. It’s been a difficult start to the year, but it feels like the momentum is changing now and the performance in Sochi was a big boost for all of us.
“Barcelona will be the first chance to run our updated car. It’s going to be a huge task to understand everything on Friday, but it’s always exciting to try new parts on the car.”