October 4th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Force India Deputy Team Principal Robert Fernley described the first day of practice in Korea as “another straightforward Friday for us.
"Adrian and James were in the cars this morning and they delivered their respective programmes as required. In the afternoon we got a better indication of our speed and were encouraged by the long run pace with both cars. With over 100 laps under our belt we have all the data to further optimise the cars tonight. The main focus is to try and find a more neutral balance with the car with a view to better optimising our one-lap pace.”
James Calado took over Paul Di Resta's car for first practice and spent the session learning his way around a track he has never driven before. Calado had a few off-track excursions and a spin during the session, but managed to keep the car out of the wall. He described his Friday experience:
“A new track for me and it proved to be quite difficult to learn, especially the last sector, which is quite a challenge with some off-camber corners. The programme involved some high fuel running, which is the first time I’ve done that, and by the end of the session I was feeling very comfortable with the car. The degradation of the tyres was quite high, especially as the track was so green to begin with, but I’m pretty happy with how things went today.”
Despite their lack of obvious results (Calado finished FP1 18th, Sutil was 12th fastest in FP1 and 10th in FP2, and Di Resta was 11th in FP2) Force India's drivers and team management seem optimistic about their chances of good results this weekend. All that appears to be missing is good one-lap pace, which will be useful in qualifying tomorrow if they can find it overnight.
The race drivers said after Friday practice:
Adrian Sutil: “I really like this circuit and the conditions were ideal today for practice. We worked hard to find the ideal balance and in the morning there was more understeer, while in the afternoon there was more oversteer. So there is some work to do to this evening, but we seem to be in a good position for the weekend.”
Paul di Resta: “It was quite a successful session and right from the first run I felt in the groove with the car. The long run pace looks promising and our tyre wear seems comparable to our rivals, which is a good sign. The area we need to improve is our one-lap pace so we will work hard tonight and hopefully find some gains ahead of final practice.”