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Force India targets two in top ten at Monza

6 September 2011

Force India team principal Dr Vijay Mallya believes that the Silverstone squad is building up a nice head of steam heading into the final European grand prix of the season, but wants to see both his drivers bringing home some points from Monza this weekend.

Mallya admitted that he was delighted with the way recent races had gone, with Adrian Sutil's 'recovery' to seventh in Belgium following previous scoring appearances from the orange, white and green machines in both Hungary and Germany, but insisted that getting both the German and team-mate Paul di Resta into the top ten in Italy would be the best way to confirm its rise in the pecking order.

“Looking back on the last three races, I am very pleased with the performances we have shown," the Indian confirmed, "Three strong points finishes on the trot have earned us 20 points and taken us a step closer to sixth place in the constructors' championship. It's a clear sign that we are delivering as a team on all levels and our season is now gathering some real momentum.

"I particularly enjoyed the last race in Spa, where I felt Adrian's seventh place was a fair reflection of our pace and a good recovery after our difficult qualifying session. At the same time, though, we were fortunate because both cars picked up quite a lot of damage during the first corner and were lucky to finish.

"The target now is to get both drivers in the points and I'm hopeful Monza will give us a chance to do that. The VJM04 worked well at Spa and the drivers were happy with the balance in low downforce trim. That's a good sign for Monza where we take another step down on the downforce levels."

Each F1 team will have its own bespoke low downforce aero package for the Monza weekend, with Force India's circuit engineering director, Dominic Harlow, confirming that the usual preparations have been complicated by the addition of DRS for the 2011 campaign.

“Monza always requires a new rear wing, as you run about 80-85 per cent of your maximum downforce and there's a similar reduction of drag to about 75 per cent of our total," he noted, "The efficiency of the car goes up a little bit at those levels but, coupled with that, this is the first time that we've gone there with DRS.

"The [DRS] effect will be quite a bit smaller, because the amount of downforce the wing is generating is less. You've got 80 per cent of the maximum downforce on the car, but the reduction comes nearly all from the wings. Given that the wings are roughly 30 per cent each of the overall load, with the rest coming from the floor, it cuts quite a lot of their authority.”

Harlow was also surprised by the FIA's decision to site the two DRS zones planned for Monza on opposite sides of the circuit, into the Rettifilio and Ascari chicanes respectively.

“It's interesting that the FIA hasn't set it before and after the Parabolica, on the basis that you might catch someone, maintain a minimum gap in the Parabolica, and then be able to make a pass on the pit straight," he suggested, "I guess they reasoned that was possible already and overtaking into Parabolica would be very difficult, so they've tried it in the other area for perhaps a larger lap time advantage for the trailing car. They are very rigorous in the method they apply to determine the zone and it seems to be working well.”

With Force India having scored points on both the tight Hungaroring and faster sweeps of Spa, meanwhile, Harlow remains optimistic of another good showing at Monza.

“I would hope that we've still got the upper hand [on the teams around us in the constructors' championship]," he claimed, "I think we've got nothing to fear but, equally, there's no reason to be more bullish than anywhere else. Get it right and you'll go well, get it wrong and it's easy to mess up.”


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