Formula 1

Force India Formula 1 team wary of Barcelona upgrades not working – F1

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The Force India Formula 1 team remains cautious about its upgrade package for this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

After a difficult start to the 2018 F1 season, Force India bounced back with a third place for Sergio Perez last time out in Azerbaijan.

But deputy team principal Bob Fernley admits that the unusual Baku track layout and the circumstances of the race played a role.

He says Force India still has to prove it has fully resolved the correlation issues between windtunnel and track that have troubled it so far this year. The team has traced some of its issues to the sidepod design.

“Feet on the ground, we’ve still got a little way to go,” Fernley told Autosport.

“We’re not quite there yet. We’ve not addressed all the correlation issues that we had in Melbourne, but we’re on the way to it.

“We shall still have some issues in Barcelona, it’s not going to be all plain sailing.”

Is the Barcelona upgrade effect overhyped?

Chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer agreed that the value of the Barcelona package was still to be determined, and he admitted that it takes time for a team of Force India’s size to get upgrades onto the car.

“I don’t know how much of the problem we’ll fix with the stuff coming in Barcelona, because there is a lag between finding a problem and actually getting the stuff onto the car,” Szafnauer told Autosport.

He conceded that on-track performance does not always back up the results obtained in R&D.

“You always bring updates that the tunnel and CFD have given you an indication are going to be better than what you have now, and by a significant amount. But that’s not reality,” Szafnauer added.

“So you’ve got to bolt them to the car, see if it correlates. If it doesn’t, you have to understand why.

“Sometimes it doesn’t because you haven’t optimised the car on track yet. You have to spend time with those parts, just optimising around them.

“I remember Mercedes one year were saying they stopped developing their car with six races left, so they put nothing more on their car.

“And it just got faster and faster and faster, because they had a stable platform that they understood and they could work on making that platform go faster.

“If you’re changing stuff all the time that’s not good either, because it mixes up your understanding.”

Perez has put a lot of faith in the Barcelona package.

“Barcelona is where really the car is. You show all of your potential there,” he said.

“It will be very interesting to see where we are. I believe that we are making good progress.”

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