The Force India team was left scratching its head after failing to get either of its cars into the final phase of qualifying at the German Grand Prix, but insists it is more confident of a good race result.
Having put both Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil into the top seven in qualifying at Silverstone – albeit before a penalty for the Scot – missing the cut after Q2 at the Nurburgring was frustrating for the British-based squad, and deputy team principal Paul Fernley was at a bit of a loss when it came to explaining the turn around.
“It's difficult to determine if the change in tyre construction has hampered the team's performance,” he said, referring to the forced introduction of revised Pirellis after the drama of Silverstone a week ago, “But, for whatever reason, we've not found the sweet spot this weekend and that is reflected in our qualifying performance. It means we are further back on the grid than we'd like to be, but we remain optimistic that we can fight for points with both cars tomorrow.”
di Resta was once again the better placed of the two Force India drivers, in twelfth spot, but admitted that he was still chasing the set-up on his VJM06.
“It's been quite a difficult couple of days trying to get the car in the right operating window and I've never felt totally comfortable,” he confirmed, “All the changes we've made have been a compromise and I've really struggled with the balance. Ahead of qualifying, we completely changed the set-up to try to improve things and it certainly helped. For tomorrow, we just have to hope that we can repeat the race pace we've shown earlier in the season because that has been one of our strengths.”
For Sutil, 15th place was a major disappointment at his home race, but the German could at least point to a technical problem for his lack of pace.
“I had a technical issue with my DRS during Q2, which cost me about half a second per lap. That's why P15 was all that was possible today,” he explained, “Otherwise, I think I would have been very close to making Q3.
“Apart from that, our absolute pace has not been at our usual level and we've struggled to deliver the performance we showed at Silverstone. Tomorrow is a new day - we can fix the issue for tomorrow, so we will be ready for the race. We will push on and I believe points are still possible.”