The Force India Formula One Team today completed its first full test day of the 2009 season. Giancarlo Fisichella gave the VJM02 its initial laps at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in southern Spain, recording a promising sixth quickest time of the eight-man field, a 1:21.584.
Given the relatively late debut of the car, today's programme was designed to give as much running as possible, complete systems checks and accumulate the maximum possible amount of data going into the start of the season.
Although the predicted rain stayed away for the majority of the session, the day was not without interruption following frequent red flag periods. The VJM02 also experienced some downtime when an issue with the fuel system developed following initial runs. Giancarlo was however able to complete 31 laps and was encouraged by the improved performance of the 2009 challenger.
Giancarlo will continue testing duties tomorrow before Adrian Sutil takes over on Tuesday 2 March.
Giancarlo Fisichella: "It is a bit frustrating as we could only do 31 laps today, especially as it is very important to try and get as many as possible as we are already late compared to the other teams. I'm am however quite surprised and happy about what I felt with the behaviour of the car today. It's very promising and I felt much more consistency, even under braking, and more stability in the high speed corners. We need to improve the traction a bit and also the oversteering after a few laps, but this is a problem others have had as well. The lap time is good and I am quite pleased as we did it with one set of new tyres and I know I can do much better than this. We are not that far away from the other people so I am looking forward to tomorrow and another day with more laps where we can try to improve the car a little bit and concentrate on reliability."
James Key, technical director: "Thanks to McLaren, Mercedes and all the guys back at the factory for all their hard work in getting the car ready for this test. Given the timeframe we've had, to get laps in here is a major achievement. It was certainly good to be running today for the first time at a test following our shakedown last week. The rain didn't come today as much as expected so we got more time than we thought, although it was difficult to get a clear run with the numerous red flags. We also had one simple issue that halted our running, a fuel system problem. We don't feel it is fundamental, we just need to get to the bottom of fixing it. Other than this, the car ran very well and behaved as expected. We got a lot of good feedback from Giancarlo and his feel for what the car is doing within its parameters. We will do more running tomorrow, as we need to run through some more baseline set-up as we could only do one set up change here today."