Sahara Force India looks forward to round nine of the season at the Nurburgring.
Team Principal, Vijay Mallya, sums up the mood in camp ahead of the German Grand Prix.
Paul qualified a fantastic fifth at Silverstone, but was sent to the back of the grid. How frustrating was it to lose such a good position?
The qualifying penalty was most disappointing for us. We celebrated our 100th Grand Prix in Montreal, we know the rules, and we respect the rules. After FP3 we weighed Paul and the car and everything was fine. So to find out after qualifying that the weight was 1.5kgs below the minimum was truly a shock. We made our representations to the stewards, we said there could be an error, and asked if we could be given the benefit of the doubt. The stewards decided to penalise Paul and we accepted it, and started at the back of the grid.
Were you happy with the outcome of the race, given that Adrian ran as high as third for a while?
I’m quite satisfied with seventh and ninth. Paul had to come in for a new nose after he clipped Nico [Hulkenberg], so it was a bit of a messy race, but to start at the back and come home in the points was a great effort. Overall we qualified fifth and seventh, which we were obviously very pleased about, and notwithstanding Paul’s penalty, both cars finished in the points. That proves we have a competitive car, which showed in the race itself. At the last safety car we left Adrian out and tried to push it to the end: it was only in the last few laps that he got overtaken by the Ferraris. But that’s the way racing goes.
What are your thoughts on the tyre situation?
If the FIA decides that for the whole sport it’s a safety issue and something needs to change, that’s why the FIA is there. That’s the job of the FIA. They have the technical resources to determine if it’s a safety issue, and that something needs to be done.
The team is battling for fifth place with McLaren. Can we stay ahead?
We are now 22 points ahead of McLaren: they are on 37, and we have 59. It’s all very well to say we are widening the gap, but McLaren is such a formidable team, with such a fantastic track record, they can wipe out that entire gap by winning just one race. I would not take it for granted that we will hang on to fifth, but we will make every attempt.
What are your thoughts ahead of the German Grand Prix?
We expect to carry our form into this weekend. In the last few races we’ve seen our speed and we’ve managed to get Paul in the points on three occasions from the back of the grid. It’s a home race for Adrian, a track he enjoys, and we will go there determined to continue our run of finishes with two cars in the points.
Paul on Germany
Paul, Silverstone was a mix of highs and lows. What was your final verdict on Sunday night?
The important thing is that we came away with more points, which is always positive. It was a good recovery given where we started and keeps up our momentum in the championship as it’s my seventh points finish of the season. You always think about how things might have been different, but we’ve come away feeling relatively satisfied with the outcome.
It’s a quick turnaround for Germany. What are your expectations?
It’s a very different track and not so demanding on the tyres compared to Silverstone. We should be competitive and if we can maximise all three days we will be in good shape. I’ve only raced at the Nurburgring once in Formula One a couple of years ago and I got hit going into the first corner so it would be good to put things right this weekend.
Do you enjoy the track?
I know the place well from my DTM days, although we always used to race on the shorter version. The weather is always a factor there because of the location and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some rain at some point. The track is a mix of everything, but it’s important to have good mechanical grip to perform well in the slower sections at the start and end of the lap.
Adrian on Germany
Adrian, the last race in Silverstone was a good one. Sum up your feelings…
Seventh is a good result and we can be happy with it, even though it is disappointing to go from third to seventh so close to the end of the race. Unfortunately, my rivals had a big advantage with fresher tyres and were able to overtake me quite easily in the final laps, but I’ll take the points.
This result extends your point-scoring streak to three races in a row. Have you turned a page in your season?
It is good to reap the rewards of the good work we have been doing all season. It was a bit frustrating at the start of the year when we had very good pace and something always seemed to happen to me, but now we have been gaining points more consistently.
It’s the home Grand Prix for you next. What are your emotions ahead of the weekend?
Racing in your home country is always special, even more so at a historical circuit like the Nurburgring. I spent a lot of time racing there during my early years, but only three times in Formula One. It’s a track that requires a lot of different skills from the driver, with a technical first sector, a flowing middle part and a fast end to the lap. The layout can catch you out sometimes, especially on some kerbs – such as the final chicane.