The atmospheric Interlagos track in the heart of megalopolis Sao Paulo was the setting for the opening day of practice for round 18 of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the Brazilian Grand Prix. Force India's preparations for the penultimate round of the series got off to a good start as it evaluated new aero development items, tyre compounds and a baseline set up for the weekend.
In the opening session Adrian Sutil and Tonio Liuzzi both completed 26 laps each, with Adrian recording the ninth quickest time of the 90 minute practice, just half a second off the top five. In the afternoon a smooth session produced 69 laps in total with Adrian 14th quickest and Tonio 16th.
Adrian Sutil (car 14): "Today was a reasonable start to the weekend with no major problems and some solid running in both sessions. We ran through our usual programme of long and shorter runs and tyre work and got lots of information to work on tonight. Unusually for here the surface was quite grippy, even in the morning, so we didn't need to wait for it to rubber in to get the tyre comparison data. We also had some new items to test and the car felt consistent and balanced, even if there wasn't such a huge improvement in time, maybe half a tenth or so. Let's see what we can do tomorrow: the weather conditions for qualifying look to be a bit mixed so it could be an opportunity to show well."
Tonio Liuzzi (car 15): "Overall it went pretty well today over the two sessions. We still need to understand a bit more about the set-up as this is a difficult track to get right with the long straights and then the twisty middle section - you need to get the right compromise between the downforce levels. We also had an issue with the switchable rear wing in the morning but we sorted it for the afternoon. We could go some way into understanding the tyre performance but we've got a bit of work to do on the balance to get everything right, although on the positive side we know there's still more to come from us."
Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer: "A trouble free day for both cars, well executed programmes and good quality data. We've a few decisions to take overnight with respect to set up and some of the aero changes we evaluated today. The rest of the weekend will be tactically an interesting challenge for us with compromises for qualifying and the race to be weighed up."
Adrian Sutil (car 14, VJM03/03):
FP1: 9th 1:13.918 (26 laps)
FP2: 14th 1:13.741 (32 laps)
Tonio Liuzzi (car 15, VJM03/04):
FP1: 16th 1:14.487 (26 laps)
FP2: 16th 1:14.045 (37 laps)