Unpredictability factor good for Formula One: Force India

PTI| Updated: Mar 13, 2014, 20:38 PM IST

Melbourne: The element of unpredictability that has returned to Formula One with the introduction of rule changes in the 2014 season is great for the sport says Sahara Force India as the team prepare for the season-opening race amidst controversy surrounding one of its owners.

The team is gearing up for the Melbourne Grand Prix here on Sunday but there are some off-track challenges for them as co-owner Subrata Roy Sahara is in jail due to his business related issues.

However, the team is happy with the way they have worked to develop the car for the new season.

Team Principal Vijay Mallya says they have done all they could but how successful the efforts would be, is difficult to say.

"It`s never easy to make predictions and this year there are so many more unknowns than usual. I think we can arrive in Melbourne feeling happy about the work we?ve done over the winter. How that will translate to a race weekend is hard to say, but I think it`s important that an element of unpredictability has returned," Mallya said.

"There is plenty of interest around Formula One at the moment and that`s a good thing."

Mallya said they had a busy winter and he looked satisfied with their preparations for the new season.

"It`s been a massive challenge, especially for a smaller team like ours. That was why we put so many plans in place early last year to be ready for what has become a very different Formula One. All the hard work has paid off, but it has been a very steep learning curve and a huge undertaking to get where we are today," he said.

Talking about the pre-season testing in Bahrain, Mallya said,"It was certainly a good week in terms of mileage because we completed the second highest number of laps of all the teams. So we can be satisfied with the amount and quality of the work we were able to carry out. We`ve learned a lot of things by no means everything, and I think we can feel quietly confident."

Nico Hulkenberg, who has returned to the team after spending a year with Sauber, is confident about the performance of the car and is hopeful that his bad lauck at Melbourne would end.

In his last three races (2010, 2012 and 2013) at Albert Park, Hulkenberg has not been able to complete a single lap.

"They say bad luck comes in groups of three so hopefully attempt number four will work out better," he said.

The German racer also said that he was "comfortable" with the new way of driving.

"I think this feeling will grow stronger during the season. The cars are different compared to last year: the corner speeds are lower because there is less downforce and the engine behaviour is quite different. So it's a new challenge and it's difficult to tell just from testing how it will feel during a race weekend," he said.

His teammate Sergio Perez said managing the car is a challenge in this season.

"The new rules are interesting and the cars are quite challenging. There is less downforce now, but there is a lot of torque from the engine so it's quite a different feeling. You also have to think about managing the fuel load and we know that Melbourne is a circuit with high fuel consumption.

"Yes, there are more things to do in terms of managing the systems on the car so it's more complicated than last year. The pre-season testing has given us enough time to get to know the new systems so I don't foresee any issue come the first race," he said.