Force India Race Preview - Austria

Thursday, 28 June 2018  |  Ravenol Marketing

Can Force India get an elusive double points finish on their 200 race anniversary?

Straight on the back of a disastrous weekend in France, with Esteban Ocon being taken out on Lap 1 and Sergio “Checo” Perez being forced to retire later on with water pressure issues, RAVENOL’s F1 Technical Partners Force India are keen to make up for lost points at the Austrian Grand Prix. With an unusual 3 races back to back, the pressure is on to get the cars ready for Austria – and not to pick up any damage requiring time consuming repairs during the race, before the cars head across the Channel to Silverstone the following weekend. Not only that, it’s the team’s 200th race anniversary, and the whole team will be hoping to celebrate the milestone with a special result. Wouldn’t that be a great lead up to their local grand prix?

Held at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg since it’s return to the sport in 2014, the Austrian Grand Prix is one of the shortest circuits on the F1 calendar at just 4.3 kilometers. There are 2 DRS zones – but neither are on the main straight! Perhaps one of the most challenging, or one of the fairest, circuits, this will test the cars’ straight line speed and the drivers’ natural overtaking talents. Force India's VJM11 car often performs best in the speed traps, so no issues with raw pace, and we know that Esteban and Checo will both be hungry to take places and finish as high up the points as possible.

All the teams are taking plenty of purple walled Ultrasoft tyres, a sign of aggressive, speed-orientated strategies, though with the unpredictable weather at the foothills to the Alps and rain already falling, is it possible we may see an appearance of the Inters? The forecast is for rain on Friday, possibly affecting free practice, but thankfully qualifying and the race should be dry and sunny.

We caught up with Force India’s Drivers’ Eye to see how the drivers felt about such an important race for the team:

“200 races is a very special moment for the team and it’s been a big part of my life for five years now,” Checo told them. “I have a lot of memories here, including five podiums. When I look back to when I joined at the end of 2013, I never thought we would have had this kind of success together.  

“The circuit in Austria looks simple but in reality it’s quite a difficult lap to get right. There are only a few corners, but each one is a challenge and can easily ruin your lap if you don’t hit your braking point or find the apex. With some long straights it’s important to carry good speed on the corner exits, especially on the exit of turn one, otherwise you lap times will suffer.”

“Austria is always a fun event,” Esteban added. “It’s a cool track and very unique because of its layout and the mountains make a very unusual setting. I am looking forward to being there in the hills and the fresh air. The circuit is short and has only eight corners but that makes for a very tight grid. Qualifying is going to be decided by small details and any mistake will make a big difference. It’s not going to be easy.

“Turns four and five - the double left corners in the middle of the circuit - are my favourite parts of the track. The first left hander is quite quick and you take the second almost flat out: you need to be brave getting into those corners quickly to get a good line. It’s definitely the most satisfying part of the lap.

“It’s a big weekend for the team - reaching 200 races in Formula One is a milestone. I’m proud to be part of this team’s history: we represent something special on the grid and I think the sport wouldn’t be the same without Force India. Hopefully we can celebrate this occasion with a good result this weekend.”

We wish our partners all the best of luck on this important racing anniversary, and look forward to being there with the team when they celebrate many more milestones to come.