Tyre blunder (Force India race review)

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Force India suffered a dreadful weekend and were fortunate not to be more severely punished for fitting the wrong tyres to their cars during the race.

Adrian Sutil Vitantonio Liuzzi
Qualifying position 19 21
Qualifying time comparison (Q1) 1’16.220 (-2.732) 1’18.952
Race position 17 16
Average race lap 1’21.267 (+0.158) 1’21.108
Laps 65/67 65/67
Pit stops 3 3

Open lap times interactive chart in new window

Adrian Sutil

Sutil’s race weekend started to go wrong on Saturday morning when he was struck with a clutch problem during practice. The resulting gearbox change gave him a five-place grid penalty, leaving him to start from 19th.

The team decided to start him on super-soft tyres but make an early switch to hards, as Sutil explained:

It was always our strategy that, if after the start I had not made up places, I would pit on the first lap to change to the prime tyres and make up positions when other cars stopped later on. It was a good plan as you have nothing to lose when you are that far down, but there was some confusion in the stop.

Tonio had radioed to say he was coming in for a front wing change and as we both arrived at the same time the tyre sets got mixed up and then I had to come in and pit again to get the correct set.

Once they were on I got going and I could get quite far up the field but then I had to stop when the set went off.
Adrian Sutil

During the confusion the same tyre was fitted to each car at different points in the race. Sutil had to make another pit stop to hand his team mate’s tyre back, then a third later in the race after going through the gravel in the stadium.

Perhaps not wanting to heap more misery upon the team, the stewards chose only to reprimand them. At any rate, Sutil only finished 17th.

Compare Adrian Sutil’s form against his team mate in 2010

Vitantonio Liuzzi

Broke his front wing on the first lap, leading to the mix-up with his team mate and also racked up three visits to the pits on his way to 16th.

Compare Vitantonio Liuzzi’s form against his team mate in 2010

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    Keith Collantine
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    13 comments on “Tyre blunder (Force India race review)”

    1. Somehow I can’t see Force India repeating this mistake; they sound too acutely embarrassed by the whole thing. Hopefully things will go much better next race, but until then they are the first team in ages to have had one tyre cover miles on both cars in the same race…

      1. First time I’ve heard of it. If anyone can find a past example of it happening, please share it!

    2. They were lucky that Ferrari were taking up so much attention, that was really a dreadful weekend from them.

      Whats incredible is that they apparently managed to send Sutil out with 3 hards tyres and a soft, and Liuzzi with 3 softs and 1 hard tyre!

    3. In spite of this misery, I will say Force India had a lucky weekend.

      First, they did not incur the wrath of the stewards.

      Second, on a day when Both Williams were in the top 10 and could have made serious inroads into the gap between the two teams in the fight for 5th place, Williams failed to score a single point.

      Force India has done an incredible job so far. Right from the winter-testing till the last Grand Prix. A slip-up was bound to happen. I hope they can bounce back to their normal positions next round, i.e. behind the top 4 teams and Kubica.

      1. Agreed, they were lucky that Williams didn’t score any points on Sunday.

        I think 5th place (Renault) is pretty much out of reach for them unless they pull off another miracle at Spa/Monza (or better).

        The car hasn’t seen any updates in a long time now, the mass exodus that happened within the team a few months ago has really hurt an excellent start to the season. I’d say Force India are the most improved team, then Renault.

    4. I watched live as the TV camera cut to the Force India pits. The immediate telling thing was the crewman holding a front wing for a car that didnt need a new one. It looked like they weren’t expecting this car but changed the tyres anyway.

      So, is it likely that the Force India pitcrew got to a point when they knew they were shodding the wrong car with new tyres but had passed V2.

      Sloppy. Heads should roll.

      1. I’d be surprised if at least one or two heads haven’t rolled for this already.

    5. despite the tire problems, i think they did not have the pace to get into points on merit… and so will be the case for the next race too….

      most teams competeting with them have improved their cars & also have implemented blown diffusers, and we know that Force India has no James Key & have unmotivated M. Smith for VJM03 development & also on VJM04…

      They should have problems in second half of this year & also next year too… i expect lotus to beat em on track next year…

      1. Sutil and Liuzzi both clocked top ten fastest laps, with Liuzzi ahead of Rosberg, Webber, Kubica, Schumacher etc etc. I’d say they were still on the pace.

        1. yes, but just because they made an additional pit stop near to the end of the race. You can compare Liuzzis lap times with them of de la Rosa and can see that they are about same, but still 8 tenth slower that the laps of Alonso and Vettel which they did on tyres they used for ~50 laps

    6. I have a feeling that FI ended with reprimand because they called cars back to the pits quickly to fix that situation and that caused them lose even more time.

    7. I remember Coulthard mentioning that all they needed to do was change the allocation sheets before they hand it to the FIA at the end of the race. That was after Alonso’s pitlane overtake of Massa in China.

      Perhaps Force India were playing it too safe and by the book.

    8. Charles Carroll
      27th July 2010, 16:00

      They were embarrassing this weekend. They looked like a more fancy-liveried HRT.

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