First double DNF of the year for Force India
An exceptional Japanese GP weekend was brought to a frustrating close today for the Force India F1 Team as it recorded its first double DNF of the 2010 season. Following yesterday's qualifying washout the grid was formed by a one hour session this morning, with Adrian Sutil and Tonio Liuzzi putting their VJM03s in 15th and 17th positions respectively.
The pair however made fantastic starts in the day's later race - each gaining at least five positions off the line - however Tonio's race was shortlived as he was hit by Felipe Massa going into the first corner. The impact knocked him into the wall and into instant retirement. Adrian Sutil was up to eleventh when the safety car was deployed as a result of the debris and maintained a top ten position until his pit stop on lap 18. The German had regained tenth and was chasing Rubens Barrichello for ninth when an oil leak called a halt to his race on lap 45.
Adrian Sutil (car 14): "It was a real shame today. In qualifying we really struggled with the softer tyres and couldn't get as good a result as we would have liked but I made a fantastic start off the line and was already in the top ten by the end of the first lap. We came in quite early so I could push when everyone else pitted and I was in for a good shot of the points. Then coming up to the end of the race I went into the 130R corner and the tyres started to slide around and smoke started to come out the back of the car. I felt the car let go and then that was it: I had to bring it into the pits. At the time we didn't know what was wrong, but when I stopped we could see oil coming out of the car. A disappointing end to a hard day, but let's focus on Korea now."
Tonio Liuzzi (car 15): "I'm disappointed that for the second race in a row I couldn't do more than a couple of laps. At the time I was a passenger really. I had a great start and passed five or six cars before the first corner and thought I was pretty safe but then when I went into turn one I saw Felipe coming up on the inside - I don't know if he had broken something on the car but he seemed to come into my side like a bullet. I don't think he was in control of the car at the time, but it's a shame as it's another first corner accident and then retirement for me. I'm now going to go back to the factory to prepare for Korea and not dwell on this - it happens and we need to move on and concentrate on the next challenge."
Robert Fernley, deputy team principal: "Obviously we are very disappointed with today's outcome. Our qualifying performance wasn't as we hoped and the double DNF is a bitter blow, particularly when we are fighting for championship position. It's clearly something we need to look into when we get back to the factory next week so we can make the most of the opportunities that come our way. We will come back stronger in Korea for sure and look to regain our step in the constructors' title race."