Force India's test and reserve driver Vitantonio Liuzzi today opened the team's three-day test at the Circuit de Castellet Paul Ricard track in France. Running on the 2D-SC short configuration of the circuit, Tonio worked through a programme to establish a baseline set-up for the remaining two days of the test and also tested the team's 'Monaco spec' aero developments, a high-downforce package designed for the challenges of the twisty street circuit race.
Tonio completed 106 laps with a best lap of 1min 07.346 using only the harder Bridgestone tyre compound available at this test.
Adrian Sutil will take over from Tonio tomorrow morning, before handing the wheel to Giancarlo Fisichella in the afternoon. The duo will spend the day on the Monaco-esque configuration of the track to test the Monte Carlo aero package before spending Friday on the longer version of the track preparing for the Canadian Grand Prix.
Dominic Harlow, chief race and test engineer: "Today's programme run on the short track simulation circuit layout was to evaluate a complete new front suspension for the VJM01, and to validate the package of aerodynamic changes that will be raced in Monaco next week. During a busy day the team also worked on some ongoing development items in other mechanical areas of the car. The circuit was initially a little green, but the weather conditions have not been too bad with mild temperatures, a fairly light wind and slowly the grip improved during the day. We continue tomorrow on the same circuit with both race drivers planning to devote most of their track time to prepare for the Monaco Grand-Prix."
Tonio Liuzzi: "We did more than 100 laps with no reliability problems today, which let us test some new development items for Monaco, including some of the new aero parts, and some new updates to the suspension. We had to work on the balance a bit at first to adjust to the new items, but over the longer runs it was very consistent and we could make some steps forward. As we only used the hard tyre today the lap times were pretty good in comparison to the other teams who used the soft tyre, which gives a big performance advantage over the harder compound. I think today was quite a good start for the test."