May 21st (F1plus Team / Force India Press).- The Sahara Force India team has been constantly in the mix for points so far in the season, but their drivers are still pending on delivering that mesmerizing race that most are expecting, similar to the ones brought to us by Perez in Malaysia (2nd) or Maldonado at Barcelona (Victory).
Sauber has outpaced them and now that Williams came back to life big-time, the team has to step forward to avoid falling into oblivion. Monaco is one of those races where a lot can happen, and fortunes might turn around if the team scores high in the results. Paul Di Resta has shown excellent driving skills with a 6th (Malaysia) and a 7th (Bahrain), and Hulkenberg has already earned few points. So the time to shine is now.
Vijay Mallya, Team Principal
The Monaco Grand Prix has always been a personal favourite of mine. It’s a wonderful venue to experience Formula One and nowhere else comes close to capturing the atmosphere and glamour that surrounds the race.
I would love to see us performing well this weekend and challenging for points once again. We’ve certainly made progress with the car lately, but the whole grid remains very closely matched. Just a couple of tenths can separate ten positions on the grid so nobody can afford to take anything for granted.
We also know that Monaco can be an unpredictable race so anything is possible. Our focus will be on making sure we qualify well to get track position for Sunday.
Paul Di Resta
Paul, tell us what Monaco means to you…
The Monaco Grand Prix is probably the highlight of the year and the race that every driver wants to win. It’s always a really busy weekend: the grandstands are packed, the yachts are in the harbour and everybody is looking for the best view. When the weather is nice it really helps make for an electric atmosphere.
Along with Silverstone it’s another home race for you. Does it feel extra special?
It’s where I live now and it’s interesting to see how much busier Monaco gets when the race comes to town. It’s really nice to go home each night, sleep in your own bed and enjoy your own space. Also, I will have a lot of family and friends around me who come down to watch the race.
Let’s talk about the lap and which parts stand out for you…
It’s a circuit that’s all about confidence and commitment, and you need to build up your speed through the weekend to extract the maximum laptime. There are some great corners, such as Casino Square where you arrive at 185 mph and brake as you turn into a blind corner. Then there’s the slowest corner of the year, the hairpin, taken in first gear using maximum steering lock. For the end of the lap through the swimming pool you really feel the downforce and you need a car that can ride the bumps and kerbs. It’s a real challenge for drivers and engineers to get the perfect car.
Nico, you were back in the points in Barcelona and you had some good battles along the way. Did you enjoy the race…
It felt good to pick up a point, especially because I spent so much of the race battling with Mark [Webber] for tenth place. I pushed so hard because there was no way I was going to give up that point, but there was a lot of pressure for a long time. The strategy and pit stops were perfect, too, so I have to thank my crew for that.
Tell us your thoughts on the Monaco Grand Prix – is it a weekend you enjoy?
I enjoy the challenge of Monaco. There’s no part of the lap where you can relax for a second – even the main straight is not really a straight. I do like street racing in general because you need to grow with the car over the sessions to find the limits. If you get it right you’re only a few centimetres from the barrier so there’s no margin for error.
How is your feeling with the car after five races?
I think we have taken a good step forward with the developments we made for Spain and they will continue to help us in Monaco. We still have work to do to understand and fine-tune them along with the set-up, so that is something the team is working on. When you see how close the teams around us are it can really make a difference to find even the smallest gain.