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New floor and diffuser for Force India in Bahrain 22 Apr 2009

(L to R): Dr. Vijay Mallya (IND) Force India F1 Team Owner and Robert Fearnley (GBR).
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Race Day, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 19 April 2009 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 VJM02 leaves the garage before the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Race Day, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 19 April 2009 Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Shanghai, China, Friday, 17 April 2009 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 VJM02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Race Day, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 19 April 2009

Force India are making major revisions to their car for this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, as the team continue the search for their first Formula One points. A revised floor and diffuser will be among the changes debuting on the VJM02 at Sakhir.

Drivers Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella have shown some promising pace in the opening three rounds of 2009 and team principal Vijay Mallya hopes the latest updates to their Mercedes-powered machine will keep them in touch with the rest of the field.

“We are planning to introduce a significant aerodynamic upgrade for the Bahrain Grand Prix, including a new floor and an interim diffuser,” Mallya confirmed. “Amongst other items, we also plan to use new auxiliary wings on the front wing and reprofiled sidepods to incorporate the amended rear end.”

The changes are not merely a response to the recent double-decker diffuser ruling, but have been planned by the team since the VJM02’s debut (at the end of February) as part of their aerodynamic development programme. “It will represent a good step forward for the team,” added Mallya.

Sutil is the man who has come closest to taking Force India’s maiden points. He finished ninth in Melbourne and was running as high as sixth in China last weekend before crashing out with less than six laps to go. The German has high hopes for the Sakhir updates, but admits scoring might still be a big ask.

“The new parts we have coming through for this race should keep us close to the others and I hope we will be able to have a good, competitive race,” said the German. “The goals for Bahrain are really going to be the same as for China. For sure I want to finish the job, but I think getting points here will be very difficult.”

Fisichella, meanwhile, believes the Force India package is basically sound and hopes the latest revisions to the car will help address its one major failing - an overall lack of downforce.

“Mechanically the VJM02 is good,” he said. “It feels quite balanced and consistent and is a big improvement from last year. We’re working well with the new team partners, McLaren and Mercedes, and I think we have a lot we can be positive about.

“We know where we need to improve: we are missing a lot of downforce and it shows, but now we have started to introduce new upgrades I am hopeful we can start to fix this problem.”