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Force India: Continuity should be our key to success 20 Jan 2010

Dominic Harlow (GBR) Force India F1 Chief Race Engineer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Suzuka, Japan, Friday, 2 October 2009 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 VJM02 in the third practice session.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Saturday, 31 October 2009

Despite a last minute change to Mercedes engine power, Force India enjoyed their best-ever season in 2009, clinching a maiden pole position and 13 world championship points. This year the winter break for the Silverstone-based team has been a lot less frantic and chief race engineer Dominic Harlow believes that this stability should stand them in good stead for the campaign ahead.

“I can’t remember a better winter build period for the team in the time since I’ve been here,” Harlow explained to the team’s official website. “It’s been good in terms of continuity, general feeling, and the aims and the goals that we are setting ourselves. That’s all been very positive.

“It’s still a time for change, regrouping and planning and so on, so all of that is going on as normal. But underlying that there’s just a confidence that if we carry on what we’re doing and believe in each other, then we will deliver. And unlike some other teams we’re not scratching around trying to put together a car at the last minute.”

Although there are fewer regulations changes to contend with than in 2009, the ban on refuelling is a major shift and Force India have been busy devising ways to makes gains from race strategy.

“We were pretty systematic,” added Harlow. “We looked at everything we could think of that affects fuel consumption - the drag of the car, the circuits we run at, driving style, the way we run the engines, the fuel itself. There’s still a lot of modelling for the fuel consumption and the tyres that we still need to do. Depending on where we’re racing, I think people are going to be a bit more cagey at the start of the race.”

Although they are set to miss the first official pre-season test, which will get underway at Spain’s Valencia circuit on February 1, Force India plan to debut their new car a week later at Jerez.