Nico Hulkenberg offered positive feedback about the B-spec Force India VJM08 car ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, believing that it has lived up to the team’s expectations.
Following a winter blighted by financial uncertainty, Force India only debuted its 2015 car at the final pre-season test in Barcelona, putting itself on the back foot ahead of the start of the season.
However, the team managed to battle on and currently ranks fifth in the constructors’ championship despite only debuting its updated car at the British Grand Prix three weeks ago.
Speaking ahead of the race in Hungary, Hulkenberg was upbeat about Force India’s chances for the coming weekend.
“Yeah, I think it’s going to be good and positive,” Hulkenberg said. “The B-spec car has really, so far, talking about Silverstone, lived up to the expectations what we wanted from it.
“So that’s very positive and encouraging. I think, obviously having collected a lot of data from both cars in the race, we’re able in those two weeks to go through it and optimise even more.
“Plus there is some more tweaks to the car here. I’m excited to see how we’re going to get on here.”
His optimism was shared by Force India teammate Sergio Perez, who believes that the team’s pace at Silverstone proved just how much progress it has made.
“I’m very optimistic coming into this track,” Perez said. “I think what we’ve shown in Silverstone was just the proof that the car has improved massively.
“So I think in a track like this it will be really interesting to see how we go because obviously here the engine is not so important.
“I think our car has improved a lot and we have plenty of data to analyze from the weekend before, so I think we have plenty of reasons to be optimistic into this weekend.”
However, this optimism faded on Friday when Perez suffered a frightening flip during the first practice session following a suspension failure.
Force India opted to withdraw both of its cars from FP2 whilst its engineers got to the root of the problem on Perez’s car.
Chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer confirmed that the investigations into the issue were still ongoing, but that he was pleased with the team’s limited running on Friday.
“It’s been a challenging day as we try to understand the right rear suspension failure on Sergio’s car,” Szafnauer said. “The accident cut short our morning and we opted to withdraw from the afternoon session as a precaution until we had a clear understanding of the problem.
“Those investigations remain ongoing and will continue this evening to ensure we can resume running on Saturday.
“Up until the accident, the morning had looked quite promising for both drivers. We had some aero measurement devices fitted to the cars and carried out some work with the medium tires.
“Losing the afternoon puts us on the back foot, but I’m optimistic we can recover some of the lost ground tomorrow to be ready for qualifying.”