Magny-Cours (France):Force India achieved its target of a double finish in the French Grand Prix here today with Giancarlo Fisichella bringing his VJM01 home in 18th position while Adrian Sutil was just behind at 19th.
This is the team's first double finish since Bahrain. In a tough 70 lap race from which only one car retired, Fisichella started from 17th on the grid and immediately gained one position on the first lap before finishing at 18th with a time of 1:32:37.032.
Keeping pace with the group in front on his first stint, the Italian pitted late on lap 32 to try to gain track position. He remained in touch with the field, getting back to 16th by the mid point of the race, before dropping back to 18th following his second stop on lap 54.
Sutil too had a good start and was on the tail of the Honda of Barrichello in 17th until his first stop on lap 20.
In the middle stint on medium tyres, Adrian drove some strong laps and closed the gap, but -- like his Italian teammate -- his second stop dropped him back to the rear of the field, to finish 19th with 1:32:57.001.
The team will now return to its UK base to regroup ahead of a three-day test at Silverstone next week where a new aero and mechanical package will be tested for the first time.
Fisichella was happy that he and Sutil at least finished the race after failing thrice earlier.
"Our target from today's race was to get to the end of the race and we did, so I am pleased from this respect as we have not finished the last three races," he said.
"We had more reliability from the car but the pace was not as good as we would have liked. We need a step forward to move on. I'm looking forward to Silverstone where we have some new parts that should deliver more improvements."
Sutil, however, rued that his pre-race plans did not worked out.
"We have had some better races this year. It was a bit frustrating. Both myself and Giancarlo had a very aggressive strategy to try to make up some more places in the race, but we also needed to have some luck. Unfortunately nothing happened in the race to other people," he said.
"I had lots of times when I had to move over to let cars on the lead lap go past and got out of the rhythm. This was disappointing, seeing the cars passing you when you are lapping well. In the middle stint the pace was OK, it was just the strategy didn't work out in the end," said the German.
Chairman and managing director Vijay Mallya said, "Our goal here was to improve reliability and we can take some confidence that we have achieved this aim, with no problems on either cars," he said.
"We had a strong strategy to try to make up places, which we needed to do when starting from the back, but sadly we could not capitalise on it with the extraordinary reliability of the field.
"However with this strong basis in the back of our minds we can now move onto Silverstone for the test next week, where we look forward to some new developments that should hopefully let us make up some time up to the field," said Mallya.
The team's chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne said, "It's good to get two cars to the finish today. In a race where only one car retired it was obviously going to be difficult but both drivers did a good job in general. Adrian's strategy didn't really work out for him. Overall though, it's good to get a double finish and to get some reliability."