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We’ve got to grow quickly: Fisichella
« on: March 16, 2008, 05:13:17 PM »

We’ve got to grow quickly: Fisichella

Melbourne: Almost a fortnight after the cricketers left the shores having dealt a blow to Aussie pride, another team from India is aiming to leave a mark. The start hasn’t been encouraging though.

Force India, a repackaged version of the Ferrari-powered former Spyker team now owned by Vijay Mallya, will make their debut on Sunday with experienced driver Giancarlo Fisichella and German Adrian Sutil in India’s first-ever Formula One team.

After a strong performance over the weekend, both Fisichella and Sutil were just under a second from putting the VJM01 into the top 16, and will start 17th and 19th, respectively.

“I’m not upset but disappointed. There were a lot of problems with graining on the tyres in the last few corners… But we should have been in the top 16,” Fisichella said after the race.

But will starting a place below defending champion Kimi Raikkonen make things slightly easier? “Kimi has never been a problem,” said the driver who has won three titles.

“The target will be to do our best and have a good pace. The dream will be to score points but that will be difficult.”

Describing the car as one with “good potential”, Fisichella blamed the track for the setback. “I couldn’t be consistent as there were a lot of bunks and quick chicanes on the way.”

Fisichella doesn’t believe that having to handle less pressure in a low profile team has made things easier.

“It’s true the pressure element has been less and the demands limited. The atmosphere has been nice and relaxed. It makes me feel comfortable. But at the end of the day you have to perform… We’ve got to grow quickly,” he told The Telegraph.

The Italian is well aware that Sunday is going to be tougher. “We still have a lot of work to do but are going in the right direction. Tomorrow is going to more difficult. The weather is going to be tougher, making it tough out in the middle. But it will be important to score points and we will hope for the best result possible,” Fisichella said.

He is also hoping to recover from the temperature he’s been running over the past couple of days. “I’m not in the best of shape physically… Not 100 per cent there.”

The season’s next race in Kuala Lumpur will be crucial for him. “It may be difficult for others but certainly suits my style,” he said.

Fisichella has been effusive in praise about fellow driver Sutil — “a good guy who is very focused,” he said — and the German couldn’t hide his disappointment at failing to come to terms with the track.

“It was not such an easy qualifying as the track conditions were quite different. The general grip level was lower and I struggled with some understeer with new tyres, but the second run was okay even though the balance wasn’t great. On my last lap, the car spun and jumped and I couldn’t control it,” explained Sutil.

The team is, however, optimistic of picking up places in the midfield group after demonstrating a strong pace over longer runs. What happens in the 58-lap race on Sunday remains to be seen.

Despite the hype, there is very little Indian attached to Force India. Mallya hopes to ring in the changes in the next year with team principal Collin Kolles already wanting to bring about some technical collaboration.

The king of good times is hoping to change the fortunes thick and fast.
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