SAHARA FORCE INDIA’S UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX PREVIEW
Team Principal, Dr Vijay Mallya, reflects on the podium in Sochi and sets his sights on a strong race in Austin.
VJM: “We travel to Austin full of energy and optimism following Checo’s fantastic podium in Sochi. The car was strong, our strategy was good, and Checo didn’t put a wheel wrong. You could see from our post-race celebrations just how much the result meant to everyone in the team and it’s a welcome reward for everybody’s hard work this year. It’s very satisfying to get some more silverware for our trophy cabinet at Silverstone.
“Over the winter I said that the target was to achieve podiums in 2015. That may have seemed like an over-optimistic objective, but ever since the introduction of the b-spec car I knew that we had the potential to do something special. We may have had a little good fortune in Sochi, but I believe you make your own luck and we worked hard to seize the opportunity and bring the result home.
“There is a lot of positive energy in the team at the moment. We’ve confirmed both Nico and Sergio for next year and that continuity is important for us. They are very closely matched and they push each other hard. I believe that having healthy competition within the team is a good thing and will help drive the team even further forward.
“The next race in Austin is one of my favourites. They always put on a great event and the fans show lots of enthusiasm for our sport. Luck wasn’t on our side there last year, but there is every reason to believe we can be competitive this year and build on the momentum from Sochi.”
Sergio on Austin
Sergio Perez looks to follow up his podium in Sochi with another strong showing in Austin.
Sergio: “Getting back on the podium in Sochi was an amazing feeling and seeing my crew below the podium is an image that will stay with me forever. They work so hard every day to give me a competitive car and I am really enjoying my time with the team.
“Austin is a great place to race. It has been my home race for several years, before the return of the Mexican Grand Prix, and the circuit is great fun for both fans and drivers. The city is very cool and there is so much happening during Grand Prix week. When I step into the cockpit and see all the Mexican flags and the fans in the stands it’s an incredible boost for me.
“The track has some special parts, especially the first sector and the uphill turn one. You can take a few different lines through the corner and you can brake really late for it, which makes it a good place to overtake. The whole of the first sector is very fun to drive with a lot of quick corners.
“It’s been an interesting season so far and we are doing a great job, so our focus needs to be on keeping it up for the rest of the season.”
Nico on Austin
Nico Hülkenberg aims to put a tough race in Sochi behind him as he prepares to race in the USA.
Nico: “Of the newer tracks on the calendar I think Austin is probably my favourite. The variation of corners makes it good fun to drive and they’ve designed a very nice facility. The track is smooth and it’s easy to find your rhythm. It’s generally a busy weekend on and off the track: Austin is a fun city that really embraces the race and the atmosphere is great.
“The lap is made up of a mixture of corners – high-speed, medium-speed and low-speed. There are also a lot of gradient changes, such as the uphill approach to turn one where it can be tricky to get your brake balance right. Turns three to six are where downforce counts and you need a car that’s responsive to the quick changes of direction. It’s these quick parts of the lap that put high lateral energy through your tyres.
“The DRS is worth quite a lot in Austin and the long straight between turns 11 and 12 is a really good opportunity for overtaking. We should be in good shape and competitive there, which would be the best way to bounce back after my disappointing weekend in Sochi.