Force India F1 has revealed that it will only run its new seamless shift gearbox in Friday's free practice sessions at this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix, claming that the timing is not yet right to introduce it for a race.
Much had been made about the team finally bringing its transmission up-to-date, and in line with the rest of the field, but, despite a successful test at Jerez last week, the technical department has taken the decision to phase the new development in more gradually than initially expected.
"We had a very successful introduction of the seamless shift gearbox at the test last week in Jerez, with very positive comments from the drivers, and obviously we would like to introduce it as soon as possible," chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne admitted, "We do, however, need to accrue more mileage before racing it, but we will
run it on the Friday in Hungary.
"As both gearboxes are three races into their four-race cycle, we will use it on the Friday, but we'll race the standard 'box with the view to introducing the seamless version in Valencia. This solution is therefore a chance to gain more mileage without incurring the penalties of changing a 'box with one race left, and to make sure we are fully prepared for a race introduction after the summer break."
Although the team achieved 'a competitive double finish' at the last round in Germany, and enjoyed a productive three-day test at Jerez, it remains concerned about its qualifying form, which has a knock-on effect on how it performs in races.
"We're under no illusions though that this race will be difficult - we've not performed well in qualifying so far and, with few places to pass on the Hungaroring, it could be a very hard race for us to make up positions if we don't qualify well," team boss Colin Kolles conceded, "We have to look to the strategy to help us, and try and make the most of qualifying to give ourselves the best possible chances. We need then to have good reliability to get two cars to the finish.
"Germany was disappointing in qualifying as, with both cars, we didn't feel like we got the best out of them," Gascoyne concurred, "We have struggled in qualifying compared to our race pace, and Hungary is a place where overtaking is very difficult, so qualifying is even more important than usual. But let's not forget that we had a very competitive outing in Monaco, which is very similar in set-up to Hungary - with maximum downforce and few overtaking opportunities - so we have to look to do this again, have a good strategy and take advantage whenever we can.
"Our race pace [in Germany] was comparatively much better, and we were able to race competitively with several of the cars in front. We now have to look to maintain that in Hungary and, hopefully, with the introduction of the seamless shift in Valencia, we can move on and certainly be racing with more cars in the midfield."