The Force India F1 Team has opened its points account at the first race of the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship, the Bahrain Grand Prix. Tonio Liuzzi drove a faultless race, matching the pace of the Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes cars, to secure ninth position.
With the implementation of a new points system this year, Tonio has chalked up two points - marking his first points since the 2007 Chinese Grand Prix and Force India's first points since the 2009 Italian Grand Prix.
Adrian Sutil was unfortunate to finish out of the points in 12th position. The German spun on the first lap when a cloud of smoke from the back of Mark Webber's car completely blocked his vision and he made light contact with Robert Kubica. The incident was enough for him to spin to the rear of the field, but he pushed hard to make up several places and was closing on the top ten in the latter stages. He did have some consolation of posting the second quickest lap of the race.
Adrian Sutil (car 14): "At least we finished. After the incident in the first corner it was the maximum we could do. We had a good race in the end, learning a lot about the tyres and how the car behaves at the end of a race, but the incident pretty much destroyed my hopes of getting any points. I don't really know what happened in that corner - I was driving and then there was a big cloud of smoke so I was blind going into it. I touched someone and spun and that was it. It's a shame but we will keep pushing for the next race."
Tonio Liuzzi (car 15): "I'm really pleased. We achieved our target and scored some points, which is a great result for myself and for the team. It was a difficult race as with this amount of fuel and the tyres, plus the heat, we had a bit to control but overall I think we can be pretty happy about how we handled it and to be in the points is magic. All the top teams finished ahead of us and there were no failures or reliability issues so it was the maximum we could have achieved. I'm now looking forward to Australia where we will get some more updates and it could put us in an even better position for the next race. Overall a great result for the team."
Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal: "What a great start to the season! I am absolutely delighted that we have scored in the first race of the season. It was always our aim to score points and we knew we had the pace to do it, but nevertheless to finally get there gives a great feeling. Tonio drove a superb race, matching the pace of the top teams in front, and it is certainly encouraging for the coming races. Adrian was unlucky and I know he will be disappointed not to have been able to capitalise on his starting position, but the season is long and he is hungry so I do not think he will have to wait long for his turn."
Adrian Sutil (car 14, VJM03/03):
12th (49 laps)
Tonio Liuzzi (car 15, VJM03/01):
9th (49 laps)