Force India pair Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil will hope to benefit from a tyre gamble after a tough qualifying session for the Spanish Grand Prix.
With the team having already taken the decision to revert to an older aero package after a difficult Friday, the pair went into qualifying on the back foot with the team electing to save tyres for the race.
It meant di Resta and Sutil could only qualify 16th and 17th on the grid, with the team hoping to benefit from the new tyres during the race.
“We took the decision today to sacrifice grid position to be better prepared for the race,” deputy team principal Robert Fernley said. “It means losing a few places on the grid but gives Paul and Adrian three sets of new tyres for the race. From P16 and P17 it will be tough to score points, but the races so far this season have demonstrated that there is plenty of room to make the strategy work to our advantage.
“We also reverted back to our older spec aero platform because we haven't really found the crossover we hoped to achieve with the new introductions. That's why we felt it was safer to stick with a known quantity. We will take another look at our new concept and try to develop it through for Monaco, but I expect it to be a phased introduction over the next two or three races.”
Di Resta added that the performance in the session wasn't representative of the pace of the team, after both drivers ended up behind Heikki Kovalainen's Lotus on the grid.
“I don't think our position on the grid is that representative of our true pace this weekend,” he said. “We took the decision very early on hat saving tyres for the race would free up our strategy a bit. That means I've got two sets of new options and a set of new primes to use tomorrow. On paper that looks like the sensible approach so hopefully things will work out.
“How we use the tyres is also important because there's a big difference between the two compounds in terms of pace. Also, the prime being used here is much harder than usual and so it lasts a bit longer. I'm looking forward to the race and I'm sure we can come away with a better result than our qualifying performance.”