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Force India admits to downforce deficit

Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India, Barcelona testing March 2009The Force India drivers have admitted that the team's new car will start the season short on downforce, but remain confident that they will be in a stronger position than last year.

Giancarlo Fisichella said the VJM02, which features a McLaren-Mercedes drivetrain, was still being developed after being launched relatively late in the winter.

"The car is quite good mechanically. It's quite consistent," he said. "We need more downforce, but it will be interesting. We need to work on the aero and then we will see.

"We have a good package. The Mercedes engine is really strong, even the gearbox is really good, quick and reliable. We did a lot of laps, especially in the last test in Barcelona."

His team-mate Adrian Sutil agreed that the lack of downforce was an issue, but is confident that the team is on the right track.

"I got a good impression at the beginning," he said. "Balance-wise I think it's much better than last year. We need more downforce but we're working to get it as soon as possible. After these eight days of testing, it's not enough, but we did all our programme - race simulations, so I'm set up well.

"The car looks reliable and that's the most important. I think McLaren is the best partner we could have. It's a world championship team so no worries there, I'm quite confident to have the best material."

Sutil hopes that the car will still be competitive enough to get Force India off the back of the grid, even if it might take a few races for the team to get up to speed.

"It's difficult to say right now," he said. "The winter tests are always hard to get a real reading out of it as everyone is doing different programmes - you never know who is running light fuel or heavy fuel.

"We did our programme and I have a feeling where we will be. I hope we can beat a few teams already at the start of the season but I don't want to say too much. It's a goal but perhaps not for the first race."

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