Positive first day for new Force India 02 Mar 2009
Force India Formula completed their first full test day of the 2009 season on Sunday, when Giancarlo Fisichella gave the new VJM02 its initial laps at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in southern Spain, recording a promising sixth-quickest time of the eight-man field, a 1:21.584.
Although the Mercedes-powered machine experienced some downtime when an issue with the fuel system developed following initial runs, Fisichella was able to complete 31 laps and was encouraged by the improved performance of the 2009 challenger.
It is a bit frustrating as we could only do 31 laps today, especially as it is very important to try and get as many as possible as we are already late compared to the other teams, said the Italian. I'm am however quite surprised and happy about what I felt with the behaviour of the car today. It's very promising and I felt much more consistency, even under braking, and more stability in the high speed corners.
We need to improve the traction a bit and also the oversteering after a few laps, but this is a problem others have had as well. The lap time is good and I am quite pleased as we did it with one set of new tyres and I know I can do much better than this. We are not that far away from the other people so I am looking forward to tomorrow and another day with more laps where we can try to improve the car a little bit and concentrate on reliability.
Given the relatively late debut of the Force India car, Sunday's programme was designed to give as much running as possible, complete systems checks and accumulate the maximum possible amount of data going into the start of the season, the teams first since signing their new technical partnership with McLaren.
Given the timeframe we've had, to get laps in here is a major achievement, said technical director James Key. It was certainly good to be running today for the first time at a test following our shakedown last week. The rain didn't come today as much as expected so we got more time than we thought, although it was difficult to get a clear run with the numerous red flags. We also had one simple issue that halted our running, a fuel system problem. We don't feel it is fundamental, we just need to get to the bottom of fixing it.
Other than this, the car ran very well and behaved as expected. We got a lot of good feedback from Giancarlo and his feel for what the car is doing within its parameters. We will do more running tomorrow, as we need to run through some more baseline set-up as we could only do one set-up change here today.
Fisichella will continue Force India testing duties on Monday before team mate Adrian Sutil takes over on Tuesday.