Home - The Official Formula 1 Website Skip to content

India preview quotes - Mercedes, Pirelli, Williams & more 21 Oct 2013

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2012 and Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E20 at the start of the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Race, Sunday, 28 October 2012 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Thursday, 18 April 2013 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Preparations, Monza, Italy, Thursday, 5 September 2013 Ross Brawn (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Toto Wolff (AUT) Mercedes AMG Executive Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 13 April 2013 Paul Hembery (GBR) Pirelli Motorsport Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race Day, Hungaroring, Hungary. Sunday, 28 July 2013 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 6 September 2013 Xevi Pujolar (ESP) Williams Chief Race Engineer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Remi Taffin (FRA), head of Renault Sport F1 track operations in the Press Conference
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Practice, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Friday, 2 November 2012 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 6 September 2013 Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 8 September 2013 Martin Whitmarsh (GBR) McLaren Chief Executive Officer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hungaroring, Hungary. Saturday, 27 July 2013 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 7 September 2013 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Thursday, 18 April 2013 Dr. Vijay Mallya (IND) Force India Formula One Team Owner.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying, Saturday, 27 October 2012 Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix, Race Day, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 14 April 2013 Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice, Shanghai, China, Friday, 12 April 2013 John Booth (GBR) Marussia Racing Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 17 March 2013 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai, China, Thursday, 11 April 2013 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 7 September 2013 Alan Permane (GBR) Lotus F1 Race Engineer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, 22 March 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 6 September 2013 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Thursday, 18 April 2013 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Practice, Monza, Italy, Friday, 6 September 2013 Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Tom McCullough (GBR) Sauber Head of Track Engineering.
Formula One Testing, Day 4, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 22 February 2013 Giedo van der Garde (NDL) Caterham F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 7 September 2013 Charles Pic (FRA) Caterham F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 7 September 2013

Round 16 of the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship sees the paddock make its third trip to the Buddh International Circuit in New Delhi. This year the exciting young venue could well stage its very first title decider. Those involved in the 2013 Formula 1 Airtel Indian Grand Prix discuss their prospects for the coming weekend…

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2012 Qualifying - 10th, 2012 Race - 11th

“I'm looking forward to our trip to India. It really is a fascinating country and there is always something new to see or experience when you are there for the race weekend. The track itself is pretty challenging and there are good overtaking opportunities at the end of the long straight so the race should hopefully be quite exciting. The Indian fans are very passionate and increasingly knowledgeable about our sport and I hope they will enjoy the experience and provide some good support for our team. The last few races haven't been the best for us so I am hoping for a good weekend. We are all determined to finish the season strongly and to continue our challenge for second place in the Constructors' Championship.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2012 Qualifying - 3rd, 2012 Race - 4th

“I have really enjoyed our two visits to India so far. It's such a vibrant country and the support that we've received from the fans there has been fantastic. They love sport and the knowledge that some of the fans that I've met have had about Formula One has been great to see. I really hope that we can see the country take Formula One to heart in the future. I also really like the Buddh International Circuit. The layout has a great rhythm and I love the fast turns and high speeds. We're hoping for a strong weekend after a couple of difficult races and I know that everyone has been working really hard to make sure that we can get all of the performance possible from the car over the last four races. We know that we have a good car and, if we can put together a good race weekend, then we have the potential for some great results before the season is over.”

Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
“The Buddh International Circuit presents a good challenge for the drivers and engineers with its combination of low-speed corners and long straights. The track also has one of the highest average speeds of the year. After two visits to India, we hope to see our sport continue to grow in popularity and look forward to more fantastic support from the Indian fans. We are once again pleased to have agreed a race partnership with Airtel, title sponsors of the Indian Grand Prix, and we look forward to welcoming them to our team over the weekend. There has been a great deal of analysis and hard work taking place at Brackley and Brixworth since we returned from Japan and I am pleased with the continued work ethic of the team and the determination to achieve our goal of second place in the championship. Both Nico and Lewis have been in the factory this week to assist with our preparations for the next two races and we are all looking forward to the challenge of securing strong finishes for both drivers.”

Toto Wolff, Mercedes team executive director
“The last three races have shown us that we have a real fight on our hands to secure second place in the Constructors' Championship - but also that we have the performance to achieve our goal if we consistently deliver the full potential of the car. We quickly put the disappointing weekend in Japan behind us and are now fully focused on the final four races of the season. The engineering team has been working hard to extract every last bit of performance and Nico and Lewis are both hungry to achieve strong finishes. We have no reason to fear any of the upcoming circuits, as we have been strong on all types of track so far this season. That should once again be the case this weekend in India, on a circuit that includes one of the most demanding corners of the year at turn 10. We will aim to do our usual, professional job, maximise the performance of the car and our target for both drivers will be a podium finish.”

Pirelli
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

“We’ve decided to go for the P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tyres in India this year, which we think will be the best combination for the Buddh circuit and lead to closer racing. For the last two years running we’ve actually gone for the hard and soft compounds, which might have been slightly on the conservative side, so this year we’ve gone for a softer and slightly more aggressive choice. As a result, just like the last race in Japan, we’re not expecting to see a particularly big variation in lap times between the two compounds. Consequently, the strategy made a very big difference in Japan and this should be the same in India. We only had one pit stop per car in India last year, but this year we would expect two - which also provides the drivers and teams with more opportunities to make up places. With varying elevations and a wide variety of corners India provides the tyres with quite a test, as there are forces coming from all directions, so tyre management will once again prove to be important. As usual, it should be very warm in India, which increases thermal degradation as well. This looks set to be a decisive race for the championship so we hope that our tyre choice will help to make it a memorable contest with high-quality racing.”

Pastor Maldonado, Williams
2012 Qualifying - 9th, 2012 Race - 16th

“All the drivers seem to enjoy the Indian circuit due to its fantastic design and high speeds and I will miss it not being on the calendar next year. I particularly like the 180-degree right hander which is taken very fast and seems to go on forever. Of the new generation of circuits this is one of the best with its good variety, combining fast chicanes, slow corners, and corners that require a big KERS input. Normally the track is quite dirty on Friday as the track is not used that often outside of the Formula One race weekend, but it does tend to improve as the weekend progresses with more rubber being laid down and the grip levels vastly improving.”

Valtteri Bottas, Williams
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a

“India is always a unique place to visit and I enjoy the contrasts with other races on the calendar so I'm looking forward to returning again this year. It's a really interesting track to drive and normally produces entertaining races, with a good mixture of corner types that test the car and driver. The track does have some overtaking opportunities because it is quite wide, with the hairpin off the back straight a key opportunity. The weather can also be warm and humid which can be challenging physically. We have not had the sort of results that we would have hoped for so far in the second half of the season, but I will continue to fight as hard as I can and try to get the most out of the package we have to try and get us in to the points.”

Xevi Pujolar, Williams chief race engineer
“The Indian Grand Prix takes place at the Buddh International Circuit, which was new on the calendar for the 2011 season. With fast, free-flowing and undulating characteristics the track has drawn comparisons to Spa-Francorchamps with the track rising by 14 metres within the first three corners. The track has a mixture of fast and slow corners making it challenging for the drivers, with the multi-apex sequence of Turns 10, 11 and 12 likened to Turn 8 at the Istanbul Park Circuit in Turkey. The Indian Grand Prix features one of the longest pit lanes in F1 and this contributes to a higher than average pit loss which pushes strategies towards fewer stops. Track temperatures are likely to be relatively high and to date there has never been a safety car in the race. After finishing just outside the points in recent races, the team will be pushing hard until the very last race of the season to score a top ten finish.”

Remi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 head of track operations
“We have learnt a lot about the track in the past two years. It is an interesting circuit, with a variety of corners and speeds throughout the lap. The first part requires good top speed and power since 75 percent of this sector consists of straights. The second part of the track is twistier and requires a more driveable and responsive engine. However the main feature of the track is the high levels of dust at the start of the weekend, which makes the circuit surface very slippery. To deal with this we will moderate the driver torque maps to give greater driveability and less wheelspin on the entrance and exit of corners to try to extend tyre life.”

Jenson Button, McLaren
2012 Qualifying - 4th, 2012 Race - 5th

“This is such a great racetrack - it’s fast, flowing and challenging. It’s pretty technical too, which is quite unusual for a fast circuit, but the flow from one corner to the next means that positioning the car is quite critical if you don’t want to fall out of the rhythm and lose time. Track positioning is also important because several areas of the circuit are extremely wide, and narrow down from corner-entry to exit. The long back straight will once again make it important to balance the car’s gearing and downforce for maximum speed with DRS. That straight, and the braking zone into Turn 4, are probably the most straightforward places on the circuit upon which to overtake. In fact, the rest of the circuit is quite fast, with only a single racing line, so trying to get past during the rest of the lap is pretty tricky.

“The last few races have shown that, realistically, we’ll once again be fighting for the minor points. Still, I enjoyed my races in Korea and particularly Japan - where it was both satisfying and unusual to be armed with fresh tyres and able to pick off cars on older rubber, as opposed to the other way round - so I’ll be looking to take the fight to some of the faster cars once again next weekend.”

Sergio Perez, McLaren
2012 Qualifying - 8th, 2012 Race - DNF

“I love travelling to India - it’s such a rich and vibrant country, and always an eye-opening place for any visitor.

“The Indian Grand Prix has been an interesting and exciting event for the past two years - I really think it’s starting to make its mark on the country. It’s well attended, and the crowds seem interested, enthusiastic and passionate - that’s always great to see.

“After two tricky races in Korea and Japan, in which I had good pace but just seemed to suffer a whole range of misfortune, I’ll be hoping for a smoother ride in the next flyaway double-header. It’s been frustrating to see decent results slip away from me, but I’m confident that we’ll be able to turn things around quickly.

“With the race skipping a year for 2014, I hope we can help make this year’s event particularly memorable. We know we don’t have the machinery to fight the top four teams, but there’s always fierce competition around the fringes of the top 10; scrapping for points might not be what Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is all about, but it’s nonetheless satisfying to nail the set-up and the strategy and drive a perfect race. That’ll be my aim again this weekend.”

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
“There is little rest for our personnel as we quickly turn ourselves around from a fortnight in the Far East and prepare for this weekend’s Indian Grand Prix. While we didn’t possess the machinery to enable us to fight the top four teams at either of the last two events, I think we can be pleased from an operational standpoint - despite issues that affected both drivers in Japan and Korea - most notably a broken front wing and two punctures - we were strategically efficient, and were able to deliver some consistent finishes for both Jenson and Checo.

“Equally, I must also single-out praise for both drivers: it’s been a difficult season, but they have each remained calm, measured and dedicated - they have been a motivational force for the entire organisation, and I am very proud of the way they’ve responded.

“The Indian Grand Prix has quickly developed into an important Formula One event - it’s popular and well attended, and the next few years will be critical if the sport is to establish a foothold in such a vast territory. It’s been pleasing to see the enthusiasm that Indian fans have for our sport - and our love for their country is equally reciprocated - and I would love to see the race grow in significance over the coming years.”

Paul di Resta, Force India
2012 Qualifying - 16th, 2012 Race - 12th

“This is always a massive event for us and comes at the end of a very busy week because we will be spending a few days in Delhi ahead of the race to meet the local media and fans. We come to India several times during the year and you can see the growing enthusiasm of the fans. It’s great that we get to spend time with them and show them the thrill of Formula One up close.

“I think the layout is one of the best from the new generation of tracks. Sector one stands out for me because it’s where you can really challenge somebody - it's got long straights and big braking zones and can make for some exciting battles. The rest of the track has elevation changes and off-camber corners so it's a challenging combination for the engineers as it’s important to have good mechanical grip.

“We didn't score points in Japan but we made some real progress with setting up the car, so going an extra step and getting in the top ten has got to be the goal this weekend. Friday is going to be crucial because this is one of those tracks where finding the right rhythm with a well-balanced car really pays you back with lap time.”

Adrian Sutil, Force India
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a

“It is special - it’s our home Grand Prix and to have the colours of the Indian flag on the side of the car makes it even more memorable. I remember the first race there two years ago - so many people came to the race, showing such strong support for our team. We were in the spotlight for the whole weekend and scoring points in the first Indian Grand Prix was very important for us.

“I think scoring points will be a big task, but we will go there ready to fight. The last couple of races have not been easy for us and I’ve struggled to get the balance and consistency with the car. We are moving forward, however - we’ve learned a lot from the last two races so hopefully that will help us find a direction that gives me the confidence to push the car harder.

“It's a very demanding track which requires stability and a good front end. There are some similarities with Korea with some long, flowing corners in the second and third sectors where the downforce is important. We will need to find a good balance to be able to exploit these characteristics.”

Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal
“Our home race is always a very proud weekend for everyone in the team: the atmosphere at the track is incredible and we always enjoy plenty of support. The track itself is one of the best in the world. It's also a good one for us - in the last two years we scored points in both races, so a similar result would be a good target for the team.”

Jules Bianchi, Marussia
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a

“It seems next weekend may be my first and last opportunity to drive the Buddh International Circuit, but I am very much looking forward to doing so because it is really a very special track. I attended the race there last year, so I got the chance to see it first-hand and to hear the drivers’ reaction to driving it. I’m sure I will be equally impressed. Turns 3 and 10-12 look particularly interesting. I’m working on the basis that Japan was my ‘jinx race’ and with that behind me I am very optimistic about the step we have taken with the car performance and the developments we have yet to bring.”

Max Chilton, Marussia
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a

“The Indian Grand Prix represents another new race for me and my team mate, so once again it will be an exciting and challenging weekend in equal measure. The team have good experience of the track, having raced there on two occasions previously and, as always, the work we have done in the sim will be a huge benefit, so we have a good foundation on which to start the weekend. Having reflected on Japan in particular I’m really pleased with how things are progressing at the moment, so I’m hoping for a similarly productive time in India, making good steps at every stage of the weekend. A good two-car finish is our team target, but also from my point of view I would obviously be happy to maintain my record of being the only driver to finish every race - for another four weekends!”

John Booth, Marussia team principal
“We very much enjoy racing on the Buddh International Circuit, so we will take time to savour our final experience of what is actually a very challenging and technical track and one which has received a great deal of praise from drivers and engineering teams during the past two seasons. Once we have acclimatised Jules and Max to the circuit, we will be firmly focused on maintaining the positive upturn with car performance and indeed trying to extract even more in India and over the next few races with the smaller developments we are introducing.”

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus
2012 Qualifying - 7th, 2012 Race - 7th

“The Buddh International Circuit is quite an interesting track; one of the better ones from the modern circuits. It’s quite similar to Korea; long straights, not terribly challenging corners and hard braking. It’s not as technical as Korea which was another new track for me last year, but it’s good. It’s always nice to go to a new place like India. It’s certainly a good track to go fast with a strong car in front of all the others! Hopefully we finally get it right in qualifying as the last five qualifying sessions have not been that great for me. If we don’t, it’s going to be a difficult Sunday afternoon, although of course we’ll keep pushing. If we do get it right, then we can really go for it!”

Romain Grosjean, Lotus
2012 Qualifying - 11th, 2012 Race - 9th

“I like the Buddh International Circuit. I first visited the track as third driver for the team during the inaugural race weekend in 2011 and was really impressed by the facility, then of course I drove it for the first time last year. The layout includes a nice mix of corners with a bit of gradient change which is always a good thing. There are some decent straights with wide corners at the end of them to help with overtaking, although it’s still not the easiest place in the world to pass somebody. Then there’s the linked Turn 10 / 11 combination, which is a bit like Turn 8 in Turkey in that it seems to go on forever. It’s quite a fun track to drive. Our car is really performing well at the moment so I think we could be strong again. It’s fair to say we struggled there a little last year with finding grip and getting the right setup for the cars, so hopefully we can perform better this time. The tyre allocation was quite hard for the track in 2012, but this year it’s softer which should help us and make for better racing.”

Alan Permane, Lotus trackside operations director
“The Buddh International Circuit is a good track with a mixture of challenges, but nothing particularly tricky. There’s a steep uphill section into Turn 3 followed by a sizeable straight, a long banked right-hand corner and some quick changes of direction through Turns 5-9 and 13-14. It’s a circuit where we expect the E21 to work well. Although we saw in Suzuka that we can compete on the harder tyres, our car generally favours the softer compounds making this a race where we’re very much looking forward to continuing our run of strong recent performances. DRS overtakes are tricky at Buddh. There was a double DRS zone last year, but even though there’s a long straight it’s not the easiest place to overtake. That said, we’ve seen some reasonably good attacking moves in the last few races and the softer allocation should help with passing opportunities too when differing degradation levels from different cars are factored in.

“The change from hard and soft compound tyres last year to medium and soft this year should make for quite a different race, where we saw one-stop strategies driven by the hard tyre allocation. Last year the performance gap between the tyres meant that everyone qualified on the soft and raced on the hard after a single stop. This year, the soft and medium compound open up the strategic permutations. With this season’s tyres also being a step softer than last year’s soft tyre, we have softer tyres to both qualify and race with. It could be a far more interesting race with strategy split between two and three stops.”

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2012 Qualifying - 1st, 2012 Race - 1st

“It is not an easy track, because of a few complicated rhythm-breakers that are in there. The most difficult part is the uphill entry to Turn 3, because seeing the apex is practically impossible. So to drive a perfect lap around the Buddh circuit, you need a good driving instinct. So far everything has always gone perfectly for us in India. There is also a very nice trophy at the end of the race - so it would be great to hold one again this year! It’s a circuit that I like, in a country that is very, very impressive every time we go there.”

Mark Webber, Red Bull
2012 Qualifying - 2nd, 2012 Race - 3rd

“India’s an extremely unique country for lots of different reasons; culturally there’s lots going on and you’ve got some pretty spectacular cities, busy cities. I’ve tried some of the local food and it’s really tasty, and obviously spicy, but I don’t mind that! The track is good. I think they’ve done a good job with the circuit, it’s a place where you can really put a Formula Onecar on the limit and it’s quick. It’s a very demanding track for the car and driver. It’s probably very similar to the old Turkey circuit, but the middle sector is very similar to Silverstone - it’s very, very fast, but has some undulations as well. The undulations are quite good and quite cute; they’ve put them in some challenging areas for us.”

Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber
2012 Qualifying - 12th, 2012 Race - 8th

“Last year I had a good result in India as I finished eighth, so it was great to get some points. It is quite a nice track and one of the modern ones with some tricky sectors, especially sector two as there are a lot of corners that are combined. It is not one of my favourite circuits, but it is still nice to be driving there. When I was racing for an Indian team I had to arrive quite early, do a big PR tour and do a bit of promotion for Formula One. India is a very exotic country. As regards the food, I am not that used to it and certainly don't like spicy food, so that makes it quite tricky, and I always have to ask for a very, very mild dish. Paneer tikka is actually my favourite local dish there which is delicious.”

Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a

“I know the Buddh International Circuit from driving in free practice for Checo (Perez) last year, and I completed 29 laps. It is another track that I like, because it has really long straights, very good braking and fast chicanes, which make the driving experience very special. There is quite a lot of margin for error with the run-off areas, but in order to put a good lap in you need to be perceise. You have slow and medium speed corners that are quite technical, like turns five, six and seven. This is quite challenging for the tyres. The goal will be to continue the rhythm we found and translate that into results.”

Tom McCullough, Sauber head of track engineering
“The Buddh International Circuit has similar characteristics to the track in South Korea. The first sector is dominated by long straights and low speed corners, the second sector is made up of medium to high speed corners, and there is a short, low speed final sector. There is some significant elevation change during the lap, which also contributes to it being a challenging and rewarding circuit for the drivers. Pirelli will provide the soft and medium compounds. The medium as the prime tyre is one step softer than last year. We are fighting in a very tight area of the grid where maximising what you have is the name of the game. As in the previous four races, our aim is to get into Q3 and continue to score valuable championship points.”

Giedo van der Garde, Caterham
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a

“Korea and Japan were two quite tough weeks with races that didn’t go to plan for me so I want to get back to the performance levels that have been building up since Hungary at the next two races in India and Abu Dhabi. Japan obviously ended a whole lot earlier than planned and we’ve looked at all the data from the first lap off I had after the contact with Jules - when I hit the barrier the impact registered around 20g which is by quite a long way one of the biggest accidents I’ve had in my career. It just shows how far F1 safety has come that I was out of the car and back in the team’s hospitality unit within about 20 minutes and when I looked at the shots after the race I realised that it was, honestly, quite a lot of a bigger shunt than it had felt like in the car.

“So, on to India and another track I tried for the first time last year in FP1. It’s a proper drivers track, one that has elevation changes and a few really challenging corners and there’s a couple of overtaking opportunities, especially turn four at the end of the long straight. It’s going to be hot and hotter track conditions have suited us all year so the aim is to maintain the gap to our nearest competitors throughout the weekend and get back to fighting cars ahead on Sunday afternoon, putting ourselves in a position to take advantage of anything that happens up ahead.”

Charles Pic, Caterham
2012 Qualifying - 24th, 2012 Race - 19th

“Next we’re heading to India and then Abu Dhabi straight after for the next back-to-back flyaways this season. It’s a very tough schedule on everyone but, as we showed on Sunday in Japan, we keep fighting and the whole team is focused on grabbing any opportunity that comes our way.

“I raced for the first time in India last year and, like most of the drivers have said, it’s a great track, one of the best of the modern era. I had a strong race there in 2012, particularly at the start where I made up five places, so the aim is obviously to do the same again in 2013 and keep pushing the teams ahead where we can. The track itself is a good mix of a few quick bits, especially into Turn five and through 10 and 11 for example, and a bit more stop / start like Turns one, two and three, but the main thing is to find a good rhythm around the whole lap to get the most out of the car, like Spa for example. As the track evolves so much over the weekend you don’t really find the quickest pace until quali and then the race itself as the track is so dusty on Friday, and then again on Saturday morning. They did make some improvements last year to help manage that, including washing the track each evening, so hopefully it will be better again this year.

“With such a short amount of time in India I won’t have a chance to explore but that’s something I’d like to do one day. We go to so many cool places but the race weekends are always busy and there’s no time to properly look around, but from what I saw last year, India’s an amazing place and one I’d like to come back to one day to really find out what it’s all about.”

More to follow.

For tickets and travel to 2013 FORMULA 1 races, click here.
For FORMULA 1 merchandise, click here.