Crash and gearbox problems ruin Force India's day
A difficult day for Force India in qualifying, as they could not convert their early running form into a strong starting position for this weekend’s German Grand Prix. Tonio Liuzzi will start from 22nd position after an accident in Q1, while Adrian Sutil qualified in 14th, however will start from 19th as a result of a penalty for changing his gearbox between FP3 and qualifying.
Adrian eased into Q2 with the 12th quickest time of the 20 minute opener, however despite improving on his time, he could not progress through to Q3.
Tonio completed three laps in Q1 but when exiting the final corner he ran wide onto the kerbs and hit a damp patch remaining from the earlier rain. The loss of grip sent him into a spin and unfortunately he speared across the track and into the pit wall, damaging the front of his VJM03. Tonio was uninjured in the accident but will start from a frustrating 22nd position.
Adrian Sutil - car 14, VJM03/03
"Not really such a great day for us! The weekend started so well and in the rain the car was so strong, but it’s not gone right today. This morning I had a problem with the driveshaft and missed the whole session. We also had to change the gearbox as a result of the problem so we knew that we would be facing a tough challenge with the five place penalty we would get. Then in qualifying I didn’t have any grip and the car was sliding around and we were only quick enough for 14th place. All the same it’s only qualifying and there’s a long race tomorrow where anything can happen.With a good strategy we can always go for a good result."
FP3: 24th No time set (2 laps)
Q1: 12th 1:16.220 (8 laps)
Q2: 14th 1:15.467 (8 laps)*
* will start from 19th after grid penalty applied
Tonio Liuzzi - car 15, VJM03/01
"I had had a good couple of laps but then I hit a wet patch on the kerb or on the grass that wasn’t visible from the track and it then started the accident. I lost the rear and was pushed out quite strongly across the track and into the wall. I wasn’t hurt, but it’s such a shame as we lost the qualifying and now have to start far down the grid. We can still make up some places as we showed in the last race in Silverstone where I came back to 11th and under a second from the points, so the race pace is very strong – let’s see what we can do."
FP3: 17th 1:17.538 (22 laps)
Q1: 22nd 1:18.952 (3 laps)
Otmar Szafnauer, chief operating officer
"Obviously we’re disappointed with the session today. We were hoping for more in qualifying but had technical problems with the driveshaft failure on Adrian’s car in FP3, which compromised his performance in qualifying. Tonio then had an accident at the last corner, which eliminated him in Q1. But as we always say there’s no points for qualifying. Our long run pace this weekend on both cars has been strong and both Adrian and Tonio are real fighters who will keep pushing until the flag. They have fought hard in the past and, even after the difficulties today, are exceptionally motivated to do it again here in Hockenheim."