Q & A with Force India's James Key

Interview conducted by Force India's press office

Q & A with Force India's James Key

Q. The competition from back to front on the F1 grid is closer than it's ever been before this year. With such small time differences covering all the cars, could one or two successful updates make all the difference?

James Key:
Yes, we have tenths and hundredths between cars at present with just over one second covering the entire grid. This is of course incredibly close, so any reasonable updates can make a significant difference to position. As a result there is a lot of emphasis on optimising qualifying. We had a good start position in Germany and raced at the front without any issues, maintaining a points scoring position. With the current situation, track position is vital.

Q. Has bad luck, a lack of pace, or a combination of both prevented you from putting points on the board so far in 2009?

JK: I think luck has not always been on our side. We have had our cars in points scoring positions this year on a number of occasions but not brought the result home. We had a good window of opportunity in the middle of the season after a big step forward at Silverstone, but it did not work out for us due to Adrian's unfortunate accident in qualifying.

However Giancarlo's excellent race drive at that event from 16th on the grid to 10th, just seconds off the points, shows the pace to score points was there. Similarly in Germany where qualifying went well, we maintained position for points only for the coming together with Raikkonen after the first round of stops.

Hungary was less competitive for us, however we have a fair bit more to come for the next part of the season and we need to ensure that we capitalise on every opportunity available to us in future.

Q. Have you been surprised by the turnabout in the pecking order, with Ferrari and McLaren struggling until recently while Brawn and Red Bull excel?

JK: In some ways yes, however it was always difficult going into a season with completely new regulations. With the fundamental changes made for 2009, much depended on the time available to develop the cars before the season, which was perhaps more difficult for the teams competing right to the end of 2008 for the championship.

I am not sure, particularly after the Hungarian GP, that any teams could be said to be struggling at present as the grid is so tight, it's more down to getting it right on the day and keeping the updates coming through. There are no weak teams in F1 nowadays with just a handful of tenths of a second making big differences.

Q. Giancarlo and Adrian appear to be two of the most closely-matched team-mates on the grid. Is there a healthy rivalry between your drivers?

JK: Of course, there is always rivalry between team-mates, however it is certainly a healthy one at Force India. Being a small team it is important that all concerned work together to develop the car and improve performance and on that basis the relationship between our drivers is very good.

Q. Jenson Button has become the close-to-overwhelming favourite for the drivers' championship. Do you see anyone stopping him?

JK: I think he capitalised on good opportunities early on with a very good start to the season, however it's less clear now how the second part of the season could progress. It is possible to have a change in championship lead with the current rates of development from various teams so I don't think it's all over yet, which is of course great news for Formula 1.

shares
comments
Force India promises more from 2009

Previous article

Force India promises more from 2009

Next article

Piquet: Briatore is ignorant about F1

Piquet: Briatore is ignorant about F1
Load comments
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021