Sahara Force India gets ready for its home – the Indian Grand Prix – race at the Buddh International Circuit near Delhi.
Dr Vijay Mallya hopes the support of the Indian fans will inspire the team to score big points.
Dr Mallya, how is the mood in the team with just four races to go?
The races after the summer break haven’t been very positive in terms of scoring points, but the morale in the team remains strong. Korea and Japan were not the easiest of weekends, but everyone in the team is working really hard to recapture our early form. It’s all a matter of finding the right balance with the car – when we do that, we will be back in the points.
How do you see the battle with Sauber for sixth place?
Sauber have been doing a very good job lately. They are the in-form team at the moment and they have been taking all the opportunities that were presented to them. It’s going to be a real fight in these last four races: we need to make a step forward to hold them off, because they can qualify well and they have strong race pace as well.
Tell us about your emotions ahead of the Indian Grand Prix…
Our home race is always a very proud weekend for everyone in the team: the atmosphere at the track is incredible and we always enjoy plenty of support. The track itself is one of the best in the world. It’s also a good one for us – in the last two years we scored points in both races, so a similar result would be a good target for the team.
Paul Di Resta gets set for the final part of the season and the team’s home race.
Paul, this will be your third Indian Grand Prix. How important is this race for the team?
This is always a massive event for us and comes at the end of a very busy week because we will be spending a few days in Delhi ahead of the race to meet the local media and fans. We come to India several times during the year and you can see the growing enthusiasm of the fans. It’s great that we get to spend time with them and show them the thrill of Formula One up close.
What do you think of the track?
I think the layout is one of the best from the new generation of tracks. Sector one stands out for me because it’s where you can really challenge somebody – it’s got long straights and big braking zones and can make for some exciting battles. The rest of the track has elevation changes and off-camber corners so it’s a challenging combination for the engineers as it’s important to have good mechanical grip.
Have you set any expectations ahead of the weekend?
We didn’t score points in Japan but we made some real progress with setting up the car, so going an extra step and getting in the top ten has got to be the goal this weekend. Friday is going to be crucial because this is one of those tracks where finding the right rhythm with a well-balanced car really pays you back with lap time.
Adrian Sutil talks about the challenge of the Buddh International Circuit.
Adrian, you’re coming back to India behind the wheel of a Sahara Force India. Does it feel extra special?
It is special – it’s our home Grand Prix and to have the colours of the Indian flag on the side of the car makes it even more memorable. I remember the first race there two years ago – so many people came to the race, showing such strong support for our team. We were in the spotlight for the whole weekend and scoring points in the first Indian Grand Prix was very important for us.
What are your chances of picking up points this year?
I think scoring points will be a big task, but we will go there ready to fight. The last couple of races have not been easy for us and I’ve struggled to get the balance and consistency with the car. We are moving forward, however – we’ve learned a lot from the last two races so hopefully that will help us find a direction that gives me the confidence to push the car harder.
And what about the track – what do you need from the car?
It’s a very demanding track which requires stability and a good front end. There are some similarities with Korea with some long, flowing corners in the second and third sectors where the downforce is important. We will need to find a good balance to be able to exploit these characteristics.