Change in tyres hurting Force India – Fernley

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Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley says the changes made to the tires at the German Grand Prix were a setback for his team.

And he believes the planned changes for the next race in Hungary are “not healthy for Force India”.

Prior to the German Grand Prix the team got one or both cars into the top ten at all bar one of the preceding races. The team had amassed a 22-point margin over McLaren in the constructors’ championship.

But neither Paul di Resta nor Adrian Sutil were in the top ten in qualifying or the race. That allowed McLaren to close to within ten points of them.

“The tires obviously have an effect but how big an effect is difficult to determine.” Fernley told Sky. “Is there a great deal of point in making the effort to try and figure it out, when we’re going to have a completely new set of tires as well for Hungary?

“It was a case of trying to get through this weekend.”

“The tire is so significantly different, and the car is designed specifically around that ’13 spec. tire, that we will have to re-engage design work on something that we’d actually thought we’d stopped, because obviously we want to move on to the ’14 car,” he added.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.