Free practice for the Turkish GP was a searing start to the weekend, with ambient temperatures peaking at more than 30°C. The Force India F1 Team made good progress over the day as it used the two 90 minute sessions to evaluate the new developments introduced this weekend, including the switchable rear wing (SRW) - a device where a driver is able to manually alter airflow over the rear wing.
Despite the low grip conditions out on track, Tonio and Adrian covered more than 200km in the morning session to gather as much data as possible on the new upgrade. The practice ran reasonably smoothly until the closing minutes of the session when Adrian ran slightly offline onto the dirty, slippery part of the track through turn eight - a high-speed multi apex turn - and into the barriers. His VJM03 was repaired in time to complete 16 laps during the second session, recording the 11th quickest time. Tonio posted 28 laps with a best time of 1:30.627, the 16th best of the afternoon.
Adrian Sutil (car 14): "We got as much data as we could on the new developments we have this weekend. The morning was pretty useful to get the first information about our switchable rear wing, and we also got a lot of running in on the hard tyre. Unfortunately I had an accident towards the end of this session - I got some understeer through turn eight and went wide on the marbles and that was it really, I was into the barriers. I was OK but the front right suspension was pretty damaged. The team did a fantastic job to get me out in the second session and we made a few runs to at least get some data on the option tyres. At this stage it's good to get the information, we'll look at it tonight and see how we can make some improvements for tomorrow."
Tonio Liuzzi (car 15): "It was quite a productive day today. In the afternoon the balance of the car was not ideal, but in the morning it was good and we could get some useful data on the new SRW. I think it's working pretty well, it's a clever solution to it and not too difficult to use considering what you have to do. We made some progress to understand it over the two sessions so now we just need to work on the balance as we are still not in the right ball park just yet. Overall a positive day and I can definitely feel an improvement over the last weekend with the car."
Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer: "Interesting sessions today as we worked on understanding the switchable rear wing on its track debut. We have collected a great deal of data and now have to determine the best approach for the remainder of the weekend. The circuit is a little green and grip quite low overall and unfortunately we lost some track time after Adrian went off track at T8 this morning. The team worked hard and did a good job to get the car back out for FP2. Otherwise the developments we have brought to this event seem positive and we expect a close qualifying session tomorrow."
Adrian Sutil (car 14, VJM03/03):
FP1: 10th 1:30.501 (17 laps)
FP2: 11th 1:29.629 (16 laps)
Tonio Liuzzi (car 15, VJM03/04):
FP1: 12th 1:30.853 (21 laps)
FP2: 16th 1:30.627 (28 laps)