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Productive first day for new Force India car 26 Feb 2008

Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 VJM01 Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain, 25 February 2008. World © Moy/Sutton Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Force India F1 VJM01 and Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 VJM01 Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain, 25 February 2008. World © Moy/Sutton Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India VJM01. Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain, 25 February 2008. World © Moy/Sutton

Force India’s chief technical officer, Mike Gascoyne, described the team’s Monday session in Barcelona as ‘very productive’ after Adrian Sutil and test driver Vitantonio Liuzzi debuted the new VJM01.

Despite grey and rainy weather conditions for the opening day of the three-day session, Force India worked through the majority of the scheduled shakedown of the cars, with both drivers focusing on understanding the behaviour of its new aero package.

“Today was a very productive day today considering we were running new parts and an aero package we hadn't tested before,” said Gascoyne after 100 laps. “We were running 60 percent of the aero package we will use in Australia, and it seemed to go well.”

Sutil and Liuzzi worked through different set-up options to maximise the balance on the VJM01. Encouragingly, the team set times competitive with the rest of the field, with Liuzzi 12th fastest and Sutil ninth, though their days were not entirely trouble free.

“Unfortunately we had an unscheduled engine change for Tonio's car over lunch, which cut short his time,” explained Gascoyne. “Although both drivers initially had some understeer issues, we seemed to understand it by the end of the day and all things considered it was a good opening day to the test. I think we can expect more tomorrow.”

Though both drivers conceded it was early days with the new car, and that weather conditions were not ideal for a maiden test, both came away with positive first impressions of the VJM01.

“I think the car ran without any major problems and the balance we got in the end was quite okay,” said German Sutil. “We had some small issues, first with getting heat into the tyres and then the pressure so it was not perfect, but we should be happy. For the first day with a new car I am confident as I can feel there is something more to come.”

Liuzzi added: “The balance, considering the conditions seemed OK, and the few laps we did in the dry seemed a step forward from last year's car. It felt a bit more balanced and we still have to understand more on the settings, but from the few laps we did in the dry it was quite a good feeling.”

Liuzzi will continue for a further day of testing on Tuesday, while Sutil hands over to team mate Giancarlo Fisichella.