After some giant-killing performances by Force India last year, driver Adrian Sutil appears confident of his team’s prospects for 2010. “We will be faster and stronger,” says the German. “We were quite challenging last time and I am sure that will continue.”
Sutil’s optimism does not seem unfounded. The new car will be rolled out on time for the season. “We are in a better position because everything was late last year. But this year we are out for tests straight away,” he says.
He expects the car to perform stronger this year and hopes the small outfit will earn respect. “People did not really respect the Force India car in the front. Nobody wanted to be held up by a Force India,” Sutil chuckles.
The VJM02 performed better on high-speed tracks last year. But the team is now looking to balance all aspects. “We are losing a lot of drag, so the car will be fast again on the straight, which is positive,” explains Sutil.
With winter testing regulated, Sutil has been training in Germany since December. “We have also started work on the car’s cockpit and I will be in the factory for the last time next week for a seat fitting.”
As manufacturers pull out, Sutil feels it is safer driving for a smaller team. “Force India is a good team for the future. When the factory teams have problems, the first thing they quit is F1 because they don’t really need it. So it’s always a risk for the driver.”
The driver feels races will be boring this year because of the ban on refuelling. “Everybody will be on the same strategy and no difference in fuel loads anymore.” About the new points system, he says, “There are more cars on the grid, so the point range has to be wider. It’s a system they are using in Moto GP and it works quite well there. The system will award 25 points to the winner and 20 and 15 to the runners-up respectively.
Wishing for more consistency, Sutil says, “We can’t settle down on one rule. They are always changing something and you need to get used to it. It’s a challenge but also confusing.”
With the classic Belgium circuit being his favourite, Sutil feels the high safety aspect of the new tracks makes them monotonous. “The feeling is not the same when you race on these circuits. The corners are slower and not interesting. That’s why every driver is happy to go to Monaco, Belgium, Silverstone, Suzuka.”
Apart from new regulations, 2010 is also being awaited for Michael Schumacher’s comeback. “He is a great sportsperson,” Sutil says. But it won’t be the seven-time champion he will be egging on for the title. “I want to beat him,” Sutil grins.