The Force India Formula One Team achieved its target of a double finish in today's French Grand Prix at the Circuit de Nevers in Burgundy. Giancarlo Fisichella brought his VJM01 home in 18th position, while Adrian Sutil was just behind in 19th following a tough 70 lap race from which only one car retired.
Giancarlo started from 17th on the grid and immediately gained a position on the first lap. Keeping pace with the group in front on his first stint, the Italian pitted late on lap 32 to try to gain track position. He remained in touch with the field, getting back to 16th by the mid point of the race, however dropped back to 18th following his second stop on lap 54.
Adrian too had a good start and was on the tail of the Honda of Barrichello in 17th until his first stop on lap 20. In the middle stint on medium tyres Adrian put in some strong laps and closed the gap to the field but as with his team-mate his second stop dropped him back to the rear of the field.
The team will however take heart in scoring its first double finish since Bahrain. From here, Force India will now return to its UK base to regroup ahead of a three-day test at Silverstone next week where a new aero and mechanical package will be tested for the first time.
Adrian Sutil (car 20): "We have had some better races this year. It was a bit frustrating. Both myself and Giancarlo had a very aggressive strategy to try to make up some more places in the race, but we also needed to have some luck. Unfortunately nothing happened in the race to other people so I had lots of times when I had to move over to let cars on the lead lap go past and got out of the rhythm. This was disappointing, seeing the cars passing you when you are lapping well. In the middle stint the pace was OK, it was just the strategy didn't work out in the end."
Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21): "Our target from today's race was to get to the end of the race and we did, so I am pleased from this respect as we have not finished the last three races.
We had more reliability from the car but the pace was not as good as we would have liked at times. It was better than yesterday, but we need a step forward to move on. I'm looking forward to the Silverstone test now where we have some new parts that should deliver some more improvements."
Mike Gascoyne, chief technical officer: "It's good to get two cars to the finish today. In a race where only one car retired it was obviously going to be difficult but both drivers did a good job in general. Adrian's strategy didn't really work out for him. He needed to make up some places early on, which he wasn't able to do as everyone was so close, so that meant he dropped back down the order at his first stop. Overall though, it's good to get a double finish and to get some reliability. We now move on to Silverstone for the test where we have a large range of improvements to bring the car on."
Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and managing director: "Our goal here was to improve reliability and we can take some confidence that we have achieved this aim, with no problems on either cars. We had a strong strategy to try to make up places, which we needed to do when starting from the back, but sadly we could not capitalise on it with the extraordinary reliability of the field. However with this strong basis in the back of our minds we can now move onto Silverstone for the test next week, where we look forward to some new developments that should hopefully let us make up some time up to the field."