Belgian GP post race: Sahara Force India

Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez (and below)


The team scored 10 points today as Sergio Perez raced to fifth place in the Belgian Grand Prix. Team mate Nico Hulkenberg was unable to take the start following a loss of power on the parade lap to the grid.

P5 Sergio Perez VJM08-02
Strategy: Used Softs (8 laps) – Used Softs (12 laps) – New Mediums (23 laps)
“Fifth place and ten points is a good result, but we just lacked the pace to really fight for the podium today. My start was very strong and I was close to taking the lead on lap one when I was alongside Lewis (Hamilton) after Eau Rouge. I settled into a good rhythm, but we had very high degradation on the soft tyres in the first two stints. It was a bit better on the medium, although we struggled in the middle sector with our low downforce set-up and that hurt my pace. We were racing some quick cars and it was hard to fight off Grosjean and Kvyat, so it’s clear we need to analyse our performance and see where we can improve. I’m already looking forward to the next race in Monza, which is another track where I think we can be competitive.”

DNF Nico Hulkenberg VJM08-01
Used Softs (-)
“It’s disappointing to finish your race before it’s even started, but sometimes these things happen in racing. On the way to the grid I just felt a loss of power. We tried to understand and fix the problem on the grid, but it came back during the formation lap. There were a few moments when the power returned, but it disappeared again just before the start and I had to retire. It’s a real shame because the car has been very quick this weekend and we had a good opportunity to score some important points.”

Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director:
“We leave Belgium with mixed feelings after what turned out to be a very eventful race. Sergio delivered a battling performance and extracted all he could from the VJM08. He was able to challenge for the podium positions at the start of the race and to finish with a fifth place, his best result of the year so far, confirmed the good pace he has shown all weekend. He didn’t put a wheel wrong all day and was able to keep some very competitive rivals behind with an intelligent and defensive drive. There are many regrets about what could have been had Nico had a clean weekend. Unfortunately, he suffered a loss of power on the way to grid and we were unable to rectify the problem before the start. It’s something we will thoroughly investigate with Mercedes. It’s a shame as he would have surely had a competitive race. The battle for fifth in the championship remains open and we’re already looking forward to the next round at Monza to reclaim the position.”



Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM08. Belgian Grand Prix, Sunday 23rd August 2015. Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium.

Austria post race: Sahara Force India

Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg


Sahara Force India scored 10 points in today’s Austrian Grand Prix as the team moved up to fifth place in the Constructors’ championship.

P6 Nico Hulkenberg VJM08-01
Strategy: Used SuperSofts (25 laps) – New Softs (46 laps)

Nico Hulkenberg: “I’m very satisfied with sixth place today. Going into the race we always knew it would be difficult to keep the Williams of Bottas behind me, so bringing the car home in sixth was probably the maximum we could achieve. I had some good wheel-to-wheel battles with him and we swapped places a few times, but it was hard to match their absolute pace. Overall it’s been a great weekend: I found a nice rhythm and I have been very happy with the performance of the car. With Checo in the points as well, it’s been an excellent weekend for us and we can be proud of what we’ve achieved. It’s an important boost ahead of Silverstone where we hope to make another step forward.”

P9 Sergio Perez VJM08-02
Strategy: New Softs (38 laps) – New SuperSofts (32 laps)

Sergio Perez: “It is a great result for the team to come away with so many points. We’ve moved up to fifth in the championship and that’s an incredible effort by everyone in the team. I had a great start and first lap: the target was to get ahead of Maldonado as he was the first driver on the prime tyre and we managed to do that. In the first stint I had a lot of pressure from both the Lotus drivers, but we held strong and the race was looking really good. Unfortunately, we lost some time in a slow pit stop and it was a bit difficult to recover after that, especially as that placed us behind Ericsson and Nasr. The second stint was not very easy because I had some very strong vibrations on the front tyres and that cost me some pace. All in all, considering our position on the grid, it was a good race. I think we could have been a couple of places ahead if everything had gone to plan, but it’s still a good result.”

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal:
“To come away from Austria with ten more points and fifth place in the championship is a tremendous result. We’ve shown good pace all weekend and it’s very satisfying to convert that speed into valuable points. Nico drove a very clean and tidy race, and realistically it would have been difficult to have finished higher up the order. The same is true for Sergio who was on the opposite strategy to Nico, but made the progress he needed in the early laps on the soft tyres. Despite a slightly lengthy pit stop he was able to recover to ninth place and pick up a couple of points. It means that we remain very well placed ahead of our local race at Silverstone where we plan to introduce the next step for the VJM08.”


Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez

Canada post race: Sahara Force India

Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez


Sahara Force India scored four points in today’s Canadian Grand Prix as Nico Hulkenberg raced to eighth place ahead of teammate Sergio Perez in P11.

P8 Nico Hulkenberg VJM08-01
Strategy: Used SuperSofts (28 laps) – New Softs (41 laps)

Nico Hulkenberg: “I am very happy to come away from here with four points – that’s definitely some positive news. It was not the most eventful race and I was by myself most of the time, except for the battle with Sebastian (Vettel). In hindsight I probably shouldn’t have tried so hard to defend against Seb, but when you’re a racer you just don’t want to give up a position without a fight. He took the outside line, I was on the inside, braking on the dirt and the marbles. I could see it coming but he didn’t leave me anywhere to go so to avoid contact I kept braking, lost the rear and spun. Fortunately I was able to get going and didn’t lose too much time. Overall it’s been a positive weekend: we keep finding good performance from our VJM08 and the team is pushing hard to find more speed. We’ve had a good run in the last few races, with Checo scoring in Monaco and my points today. It means we are making good progress and we’re closing in on fifth in the championship, so the second half of the season should be very interesting.”

P11 Sergio Perez VJM08-02
Strategy: Used SuperSofts (24 laps) – New Softs (45 laps)

Sergio Perez: “It was a tough race today and I just didn’t have enough pace to finish in the points. In the first stint I was suffering with a lot of understeer and couldn’t really attack the cars ahead of me. The main battle was against the Red Bulls and I managed to get ahead of Ricciardo, but it was hard to match the pace of Kvyat. Towards the end of the race I had to save the tyres, the brakes and fuel, so I just had to make sure I brought the car home.”

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal:
“It’s encouraging to see another strong performance from the VJM08 and to come away from Montreal by adding four more points to our tally. Nico has been impressive all weekend and eighth place is a well-deserved result following an excellent drive. Sergio just missed out on the points, but he wasn’t particularly happy with the car balance and in such a straightforward race there were no opportunities to use the strategy to our advantage. The points’ standings in the midfield are very tight and we are just a couple of points adrift of fifth place. The whole team has worked extremely hard to extract performance from the VJM08 and we are optimistic of adding more speed in the races to come. So there’s plenty to look forward to as we approach the middle of the season.”


Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg

Monaco post race: Sahara Force India

Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM08. Monaco Grand Prix, Sunday 24th May 2015. Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Sergio Perez

Dr. Vijay Mallya (IND) Sahara Force India F1 Team Owner on the grid. Monaco Grand Prix, Sunday 24th May 2015. Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Dr Vijay Mallya, Sahara Force India F1’s team owner on the grid.


The team scored six points today as Sergio Perez raced to seventh place – securing his first points finish on the streets of Monaco. Team mate Nico Hulkenberg recovered to P11 after being pushed into the wall by Fernando Alonso on lap one of the race.

P7 Sergio Perez VJM08-02
Strategy: Used SuperSofts (36 laps) – New Softs (28 laps) – Used SuperSofts (14 laps)
“I’m very happy right now. As a team we’ve done a fantastic job all weekend and seventh place is the result of all this hard work. For me it was a normal race – very straightforward and quiet, which is strange for Monaco. I was racing on my own for most of the race because the cars ahead were able to pull a gap on me and I had space to the cars behind. It was difficult to keep concentration for 78 laps, but after the safety car I was on fresh supersoft tyres and it was really good fun. I was able to attack Kimi (Raikkonen), but there wasn’t an opportunity to get the position. It’s a very important result for the whole team and gives us six points for the championship. It means I’ve scored points in half the races this season, which shows we’ve done a good job of maximising our opportunities.”

P11 Nico Hulkenberg VJM08-01
Strategy: New Softs (1 lap) – New SuperSofts (30 laps) – New Softs (47 laps)
“My race was obviously very difficult right from the start: Fernando (Alonso) more or less pushed me into the wall on the first lap and from that moment I basically had to play catch up. I knew he was there so I left him a bit more space and turned in later, but he must have locked up as he crashed into me and sent me straight into the wall. The only damage was to the front wing, but getting back to the pits and changing the wing cost me a lot of time. My race was already compromised then – it is not easy to race from so far back because you have to let the leaders through and you’re on the back foot the whole time. In terms of pace I was doing quite well, especially when in clean air, but obviously getting lapped costs you a lot of time. It is a shame as I feel that without the incident I would have been well into the points today. I still take encouragement from our pace and hopefully we can maximise the next weekend in Canada and get some more points.”

Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director
“Monaco always gives us an opportunity to shine and seventh place for Sergio is a fantastic result for the team. We did most of the hard work yesterday in qualifying and Sergio delivered a faultless performance this afternoon. He should be very proud of scoring his first points in Monaco. I feel very disappointed for Nico who was unlucky to be hit by Fernando. He had similar pace to Sergio and would surely have scored good points as well. With six points we have moved up to sixth in the championship. The team is doing a tremendous job and the result today helps keep the pressure on the teams around us.”

Team pit stop.

Team pit stop.

Monaco qualifying: Force India

Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg


Sahara Force India showed well on the streets of Monaco with Sergio Perez qualifying in seventh place – the team’s best starting position of the year so far. Nico Hulkenberg progressed to Q2 and qualified P13 (but he’s expected to start from P11).

P7 Sergio Perez VJM08-02
Q1: 1:17.376 Q2: 1:16.999 Q3: 1:16.808
“I’m really happy and excited with seventh place today. I always say qualifying in Monaco counts for 90% of your final result, so it was important to be strong. To be quick here you need confidence in the car and in yourself, and I had both today. To make it through to Q3 was already a great effort by the team, but to be starting P7 means we have already done a lot of the hard work for the race. We went out early in Q3 because we thought the rain was coming and I had a mega lap. I was worried some of the others might improve their times, especially with the track evolution, but fortunately it was not the case. Tomorrow we have a good opportunity to score some important points. We know that anything can happen on a Sunday in Monaco, but I’m focused on getting a clean start and a good first lap.”

P13 Nico Hulkenberg VJM08-01
Q1: 1:17.552 Q2: 1:17.193
“My final lap was a very good one and I believe I could have been firmly in the top ten, but unfortunately I made a small mistake in the final corner, which cost me enough time to miss out on Q3. Obviously it is disappointing, especially knowing how important your starting position is here. I am likely to be 11th on the grid, which means we will need to choose the right strategy to try and make up some positions. If we make the right calls tomorrow, we should be able to get some points. The brush with the wall in Q1 didn’t do any damage but it cost a lot in terms of rhythm: you spend a long time trying to get the right confidence around Monaco and an incident like this sets you back a little. Qualifying in Monaco is always a challenge, but one I really enjoyed. The car feels much better than it did in Barcelona and we seem to have more performance in our hands which is encouraging. Nevertheless, I expect a tough race where good tyre management will be especially important.”

Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director
“Today’s strong performance in qualifying is an important boost for the team. Sergio’s laps were competitive right from the off and he had the confidence to extract every fraction of a second from the car. It’s an important result because track position is essential around here. Nico also looked on course for a top ten qualifying position, but fell just short of the mark: it is proof of how competitive the midfield is at the moment that one small mistake can cost so many positions on the grid. Nonetheless, both drivers seemed happy with the car and this gives us confidence for tomorrow. Overtaking is hard on this track, but as this team has shown in previous years it can be done. With an aggressive strategy we should be able to target points for both cars.”

Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez

Barcelona post race: Sahara

Sergio Perez leads team mate Nico Hulkenberg.

Sergio Perez leads team mate Nico Hulkenberg.


Today’s Spanish Grand Prix saw Sergio Perez finish in P13 ahead of teammate Nico Hulkenberg in P15.

P13 Sergio Perez VJM08-02
Strategy: New Mediums (19 laps) – New Hards (17 laps) – New Mediums (29 laps):
“Considering where I qualified, we probably maximised our race today. Maybe a three-stop strategy would have been a little bit better, but it wouldn’t have made much difference in the end. My last stint was really on the limit – nearly 30 laps on the same set of mediums – but we managed them well and I was able to control Ericsson who was putting pressure on me. Once again we showed today that our car is more suited to Sundays, so if we can improve our qualifying pace we can definitely fight for points at the next few races.”

P15 Nico Hulkenberg VJM08-01
Strategy: New Mediums (10 laps) – Used Mediums (16 laps) – New Mediums (23 laps) – New Hards (16 laps):
“It was always going to be difficult to score points today, especially on a track where it’s so difficult to overtake. I was always stuck behind other cars and, even with better pace, you lose too much performance running in the dirty air. My three-stop race was the more aggressive approach, but we didn’t have the track position to make the most of it. Maybe things would have worked out better if I had run in some clean air, but points were too far away today. Hopefully we can be more competitive in Monaco. It’s often an unusual race and we will have completely different tyre compounds, which should suit us better.”

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal:
“I think we can be content with today’s race despite finishing outside the points. Our pace was more convincing than our qualifying performance, which allowed us to battle against the Saubers and McLarens, but anything more was just outside our reach. We chose early on to split the strategies so that we had the opportunity to make the most of any unexpected developments, but as the race was fairly uneventful, both drivers ended up pretty much in the same place. The main regret is the amount of time Nico lost behind Maldonado in the middle of the race, which again proved how difficult it is to overtake here – even with a tyre advantage and DRS. Looking at the championship table, we are only eight points adrift of fifth place, and we are now one step closer to our big upgrade package, which is encouraging for everyone in the team.”


Sergio Perez on the grid.

Sergio Perez on the grid.

Nico Hulkenberg with Otmar Szafnauer, Sahara Force India F1's Chief Operating Officer.

Nico Hulkenberg with Otmar Szafnauer, Sahara Force India F1’s Chief Operating Officer.

Sergio Perez with yet another interview on the grid.

Sergio Perez with yet another interview on the grid.

China post race: Sahara Force India

Germany's Nico Hulkenberg in the VJM08.

Germany’s Nico Hulkenberg in the VJM08.


Sahara Force India just missed out on points today with Sergio Perez finishing the Chinese Grand Prix in P11. Team mate Nico Hulkenberg retired on lap 10.

P11 Sergio Perez VJM08-02
Strategy: New Softs (11 laps) – New Softs (15 laps) – Used Softs (15 laps) – New Mediums (14 laps)

Sergio Perez: “We raced very hard today, but in the end it wasn’t quite enough to come away with some points. With the strategy we looked at all the opportunities and switched to three stops quite early in the race, which was the right decision. I was able to push hard all the time with the aggressive strategy and fight with the cars ahead of me. In the final part of the race I was catching Ericsson, but he was just too far ahead to make up the ground. We are still not where we want to be in terms of competitiveness, but there are definitely some positives to take because we made an improvement compared to our performance in Malaysia.”

DNF Nico Hulkenberg VJM08-01
Strategy: New Softs (10 laps)

Nico Hulkenberg: “It is disappointing to end the race early, especially considering our previous record of solid reliability. It would have been interesting to see how our race would have developed because I made some good progress on the opening lap when I went around the outside of a few cars and then got a good run at Kvyat, which put me up in P12. We had the pace to keep up with the Toro Rossos and Saubers, so it was positive to see our pace being more competitive. It is still too early to say what caused my retirement: the engineers are looking at the issue and still investigating. All we know at this stage is that I lost drive and had to park the car.”

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal: “We leave China with mixed feelings after a busy race. Sergio performed really well and was unlucky not to see his performance rewarded with a point. He was in a number of battles and was able to compete on more or less an equal footing with some of our direct rivals, which offers an encouraging view for the coming races. It was a shame to lose Nico due to a technical issue, especially as he had made very good progress in the first part of the race. Like Sergio, he was showing some really good pace and it would have been interesting to see where he would have finished had he continued. Throughout the weekend, there have been some encouraging signs regarding our performance and we can build on these as the development of the VJM08 continues.”


Sergio Perez.

Sergio Perez.

Melbourne post race: Sahara Force India

Nico Hulkenberg leads team mate Sergio Perez.

Nico Hulkenberg leads team mate Sergio Perez.


Sahara Force India scored seven points in today’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix with Nico Hulkenberg racing to seventh place and Sergio Perez picking up the final point in tenth.

P7 Nico Hulkenberg VJM08-01
Tyre strategy: New Softs (21 laps) – New Mediums (23 laps) – Used Softs (13 laps)

Nico Hulkenberg: “I am very pleased with today’s result and starting the season with two cars in the points is always positive. It was a good race; I didn’t make any mistakes and, while the reliability of our car helped us take advantage of the problems of others, at this stage in the season it is important to capitalise on any opportunity. We were ready when it counted; we had a good strategy and we delivered under the pressure. In terms of performance we are not yet where we would like to be, but everyone is working really hard to get there and make our car quicker. With points on the board we can now look forward to Malaysia in a couple of weeks and hopefully take another step forward.”

P10 Sergio Perez VJM08-02
Tyre strategy: New Mediums (38 laps) – New Softs (19 laps)

Sergio Perez: “It was one of those unusual races where so many things happened, but I’m certainly happy to come away with a point and see Nico also score good points for the team. We went for a different strategy compared to Nico to maximise the team’s chances so I started on the medium tyres in order to have the advantage on the softs at the end of the race. Unfortunately, after the safety car the FIA asked me to give a place back to Ericsson, which also meant dropping behind Button, and that was really painful for my race. Button was on the soft tyres and, although I was quicker, it was not easy to overtake and I lost a lot of track position. Still, I’m focusing on the positives of scoring a point from a difficult race, which is a good result for the team.”

Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director: “A double points finish is a positive way to start the season and a reward for all the hard work everyone in the team produced over the winter. In a race with high attrition, we made the most of the reliability of the VJM08, which at the moment is one of our strengths. Nico completed an excellent race, without putting a wheel wrong from lights to flag; he looked in control and we were never in doubt he would score well today. Sergio had an eventful race, recovering from contact and a spin early on: he made the most of his ability to manage the tyres with a very long stint and was able to score a point. Unfortunately, Sergio had to relinquish the positions he made at the start, otherwise he would have been very close to Nico. Still, it is always good to start a season with two cars in the points and we can leave Melbourne feeling positive.”


Sergio Perez.

Sergio Perez.

Barcelona tests: Day 2

Jolyon Palmer in the E23

Jolyon Palmer in the E23 (and below)


Jolyon Palmer had his first taste of the Lotus F1 E23 hybrid in his role as third and reserve driver. Over the course of 77 laps at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Jolyon ran through a programme of tyre and aero assessments, setting a best lap of 1min 26.280secs.

Track: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain, 4.7km
Chassis: E23-02
Weather: Cold and sunny. Ambient 4°C – 17°C Track 7°C – 27°C
Programme: Tyre and aero assessments
Laps Completed: 77
Classification: P8, 1:26.280
Interruptions: Aero evaluation equipment fitting and removal. Fluid replenishment.

Jolyon Palmer: “Today went well. We racked up a lot of laps and I got a good feel for the car. It was very slippery first thing with the cold track, it was certainly very difficult with the hard tyres combined with the low temperatures! Through the day there was a good mix of conditions and set-ups to work with. There was a lot to take on board with the different settings for the car and the different programmes we were running, so it’s been a pretty steep learning curve. It’s been a very positive start for me and I hope my work has benefited the team. I loved being in the car and I can’t wait to get back out on track!”


Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Two - Day 2 -  Barcelona, Spain
Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Two - Day 2 -  Barcelona, Spain
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “Today was about data accumulation and Jolyon did a great job in his first time in the car, especially with particularly cold conditions to start the session here this morning. We’ve completed a number of aero runs with a variety of different data collection tools on the car as well as conducted a number of different tyre assessments to build a picture of what to expect from Pirelli’s latest tyres working on the E23. The car has run well again and overall we’re making good progress this week.”



Driver: Felipe Massa
Chassis/Engine: FW37-02/PU106B hybrid
Location: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, 4.655km
Objectives: Systems, set-up and tyre work
Weather: Warm and Dry
Air and track temps: 4 – 15ºC / 9 – 27ºC

Rod Nelson, Chief Test and Support Engineer: “It has been another productive day. Barcelona is a good representative circuit so the data we get here is very useful. We had a lot of work to do with Felipe which we covered. Our focus is moving from reliability and long runs to more performance based tests and I am pleased with how the car has run so far in Barcelona.”

Felipe Massa: “The car has a lot of potential and today we realised some of that but we still have a lot of work to do. We completed the programme for the day without any unexpected issues. The work on tyres this afternoon gave us a lot of good data which we now have to look at. Getting more laps in the FW37 is important for the continued development of the car.”


Sahara Force India made the most of the second day of testing in Barcelona, as Sergio Perez completed a total of 121 laps – the second highest tally in the field.

Sergio Perez #11
Chassis: VJM07-02
Laps: 121 laps
Mileage: 563 km
Fastest lap: 1:24.702
Classification: P4 of 10

Sergio Perez: “I am really happy with the way the day went and by the amount of laps we managed to complete. We worked on understanding the new tyres and I think we took a good step forward in that respect; of course, we are waiting for our ‘new baby’ to come and we’re really looking forward to put all the learning we did in the last two days into practice with the new car. On a personal level, these days have also been valuable to get to know my new race and performance engineers: we made good progress and I am looking forward to even more when working on the simulator this coming week.”

Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Two - Day 2 -  Barcelona, Spain
Tom McCullough, Chief Race Engineer “It was a very productive day with a solid 121 laps and no technical issues. Our main objectives of the day were for Sergio to get to know his new engineering team better, in addition to lots of set-up and procedural work. We continued the evaluation of the 2015 Pirelli tyres we started yesterday, working through performance running in the morning and long runs in the afternoon. The data we gathered today will be really useful not just for the first few races, but also for the final test next week. We are looking forward to continuing our testing programme over the final two days.”

A rather thoughtful looking Perez

A rather thoughtful looking Perez

Barcelona tests: Day 1

Sergio Perez in the VJM07.

Sergio Perez in the VJM07


Sahara Force India opened its 2015 season with a positive day of testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. 20-year-old German Pascal Wehrlein made his debut behind the wheel of the VJM07 in the morning, with race driver Sergio Perez taking over in the afternoon as the team completed 66 laps.

Pascal Wehrlein #34
Chassis: VJM07-02
Laps: 32 laps
Mileage: 149 km
Fastest lap: 1:28.329
Classification: P8 of 11

Pascal Wehrlein: “It was great to spend the morning with Force India and to have the opportunity to drive their car for the first time. It’s a good team and everyone was really welcoming. After a few laps I felt very comfortable and confident in the car. Then, of course, I had to move across one garage and drive the Mercedes for the afternoon which was a bit of a surprise. But I will have another day with Force India this week. Driving two Formula One cars in one day was amazing and I am really looking forward to getting back out there again.”

Sergio Perez #11
Chassis: VJM07-02
Laps: 34 laps
Mileage: 158 km
Fastest lap: 1:26.636
Classification: P4 of 11

Sergio Perez: “It’s a very nice feeling to be back on track after the break and to start getting back into a racing rhythm. When I got the call to come to the track, I was really excited about having an earlier start than planned. There is so much to do: I have to get to know my new race engineer, Tim, we have new tyres and new parts to try. I think it was a positive afternoon and a good head-start on the work we are planning to do tomorrow. We can be happy about our day’s work, it was a promising beginning and we can build on it in the remaining three days. 34 laps was a good number for half a day and tomorrow we will be aiming to add many more to the tally.”

Tom McCullough, Chief Race Engineer: “It was a very positive start to our on-track season with no technical issues and lots of mileage. Even though we had to deal with an unplanned driver change, we managed to achieve all our main goals for the day. Pascal settled into the team straight away and was able to give good feedback on the test items he covered this morning; for Sergio, it was a matter of getting back to action and having his first experience with the 2015 tyres as he completed all the outstanding items on our test programme. In addition to the work on the new Pirellis, we completed a series of tests on development mechanical components on the VJM07. The aim is to have a similarly productive day tomorrow.”


Germany's Pascal Wehrlein

Germany’s Pascal Wehrlein


Lotus F1 topped the times on the first day of testing with Pastor Maldonado setting a fastest time of 1min 25.011secs during the course of completing 69 laps at the track.

Track: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain, 4.7km
Chassis: E23-02
Weather: Cold and sunny. Ambient 5°C – 17°C Track 8°C – 27°C
Programme: Mileage accumulation and set-up evaluation
Laps Completed: 69
Classification: P1, 1:25.011
Interruptions: Software related shutdowns in the morning, clutch change in the afternoon.

Pastor Maldonado: “It is always good to see your name at the top of the timing monitors and my fastest lap was just in the course of our normal programme for the day. It feels good to drive the E23 in Barcelona. The car responded well to the changes we made and we were able to complete a good number of laps. The team has made strong progress since Jerez and we have a great starting point for the rest of the week. The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is a perfect track to assess a new car so we’re happy with progress today.”


Pastor Maldonado in the E23

Pastor Maldonado in the E23 (and below)


Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Two - Day 1 -  Barcelona, Spain
Nick Chester, Technical Director: “It’s been a positive day. We had a couple of software niggles in the morning then we were able to work through a solid programme of setup work during which we racked up a good number of laps. The car did have an extended lunch break whilst we changed the clutch, then we were able to complete further work in the afternoon. We’re happy that we’ve made good steps forward since Jerez and we’re working steadily through our evaluations whilst confirming directions for improvement.”


Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Two - Day 1 -  Barcelona, Spain




Driver: Susie Wolff
Chassis/Engine: FW37-02/PU106B hybrid
Location: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, 4.655km
Objectives: Race simulation, systems and reliability checks
Weather: Warm and Dry
Air and track temps: 4 – 17ºC / 12 – 27ºC

Rod Nelson, Chief Test and Support Engineer: “We have had a reasonably successful day adding mileage to the FW37. The morning’s focus was on completing a race distance and further set-up work with the car. This afternoon we had some system checks planned, but unfortunately lost a lot of time which affected the programme. We will be able to add these back in later in the week, it’s just a shame for Susie to lose the time in the car when we were having a productive day.”

Susie Wolff: “We learnt a lot today. Carrying out some longer runs in the morning gave me experience of tyre management and it was good to get time in the FW37. The car has a lot of potential and the number of laps we completed today gave the team a lot of data. It’s just a shame I didn’t get the chance to drive the faster tyre. I got a good feeling of the car and as a driver, have learnt a lot.”



Sahara Force India’s dynamic reveal brings colour to Mexico City

Motor Racing - Sahara Force India F1 Team Livery Launch -  Mexico City, Mexico


The team’s spectacular event at the Soumaya museum saw Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg pull back the covers to reveal 2015’s VJM08.

With relatively stable technical regulations, the VJM08 has been designed with evolution rather than revolution in mind.

The most significant changes from the outside appear at the front of the car with the lowering of the front of the chassis and nose. Explains Technical Director, Andrew Green:

“The front of the car looks very different from what we’ve developed previously. It’s a redesign that involved a lot of work over the winter, as the new regulations caused a loss in terms of downforce and we’ve been working to claw back all that performance.

“The VJM08 features several subtle changes, including modified sculpting of the sidepods and new cooling intakes. Underneath the skin there’s a completely new rear suspension layout with a new hydro-mechanical system replacing the original torsion springs. The VJM08 is expected to make its track testing debut in Barcelona next month with the VJM07 running at the first test in Jerez.”

However, it’s the new car livery that may get heads turning. The chassis features an elegant combination of silver and black with the team’s traditional colour of orange streaking from the nose cone to the rear of the car in two symmetrical curves.

Key to the new livery is the introduction of several commercial partners for 2015. Prominent NEC branding appears on the engine cover to signal the beginning of a relationship with the global ICT firm based in Tokyo. Also on the engine cover are the logos of telecommunications brands Claro and Telcel as America Movil begins its second season supporting the team.

Tequila brand, Jose Cuervo features on the car’s headrest, while logos from Latin America insurance broker, Inter appears on the front wing end plates. Motor oil brand, Quaker State also partners with the team placing its logos on the rear wing end plates.

The team has also extended its partnership with Smirnoff for a second season, and continued with long-time partners United Spirits, Kingfisher and Royal Challenge.

I’ll look forward to the GP invites. Having lunches and drinks with such a range of sponsors should make them quite a lively affair…

Motor Racing - Sahara Force India F1 Team Livery Launch -  Mexico City, Mexico

Chinese GP – Sahara Force India

The team continued its strong points-scoring form in China as Nico Hulkenberg finished in sixth place ahead of Sergio Perez in ninth. The 10 points scored today leave the team with 54 points and third in the constructors’ standings.

Nico Hulkenberg:

“Finishing in sixth and bringing both cars home in the points again was a very positive result for the team. It was actually a pretty straightforward race for me after we got in front of Massa: I had to manage my tyres, my pace and avoid mistakes, and it only got tricky at the end when Bottas was getting a bit closer. We have beaten all other customer Mercedes cars, which are our main competition at the moment, but we have also seen some other teams up their game so we will need to keep pushing.”

Nico Hulkenberg.


Sergio Perez:

“To start from P16 and finish in ninth place is a good recovery after a difficult qualifying session yesterday. I made a good start and after that I just focused on making the two-stop strategy work. I think everybody suffered with tyre graining and I picked up a few flat spots, but we still made it work. It was not easy to overtake today, even the cars were on a different strategy, so I think ninth place was the maximum. It means I’ve scored points in three out of four races, but I was hoping for more today after the weekend we had in Bahrain. It’s also clear that all the teams around us are finding pace so we have to keep working hard to be ready for Barcelona.”

Sergio Perez.

Feeling a bit sorry for Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez during testing at Bahrain.

Sergio Perez during testing at Bahrain.


He’s a decent lad and I do feel he’s had a bit of a raw deal from McLaren which chucked him out at the end of last season.

Now the team has made a good start in testing at Bahrain but we hear that although the F1 side is fine things are not too great with VJ’s corporate set-up.

I do hope they see daylight in the new 2014 season. One wonders…

Anyway, Sahara Force India resumed testing in Bahrain today with Sergio Perez completing 105 laps and setting the fastest time of the day:

“We really needed a good day to start this week and today we had it. We managed to do a lot of laps, try several different compounds and mappings, and it’s been a fantastic day in terms of learning about the car.

“Tomorrow is my last day in the car before the season starts so hopefully we can have another solid day to be in good shape for Melbourne.”

Andrew Green, Technical Director:
“It has been a very productive day for the team and we managed to complete a high number of laps. The morning was mainly devoted to working on the tyres, gathering data about the various compounds at our disposal, in addition to a few performance runs to optimise our set-up.

“We were satisfied with the results of this work, so in the afternoon we switched to longer runs. We were able to do some good long run simulations, which sets us up nicely for the remainder of the week.”

Sergio will be back in the VJM07 tomorrow. Nico Hülkenberg will drive on Saturday and Sunday.

Jerez testing

Sahara Force India got through a second day of testing in Jerez as Sergio Perez completed 37 laps in the VJM07. Nico Hulkenberg will get his first run in the car tomorrow.

A few nice images of car and driver..

Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Day 2 - Jerez, Spain

Above: Couple of shots of Sergio Perez.

Above: Couple of shots of Sergio Perez.

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