The Silverstone-based Sahara Force India team feel that the wheel nut issues that forced both of their cars out of the Malaysian Grand Prix hid just how competitive they were at Sepang, write Colin and James Beckett.
Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta were both running strongly when the problems arose, forcing first di Resta and then Sutil out of the race.
Sahara Force India team owner Vijay Mallya said: “It’s more than deep disappointment. It’s extreme disappointment.
“The cars were quick, very competitive. We were racing Mercedes very comfortably, we were much quicker than the McLarens, quicker than Lotus I would like to believe.
“It was really looking good until the wheel nuts failed.”
The hot temperature at the Malaysian track was marked as the reason for the failure on both cars that became evident during routine pit stops.
Di Resta retired on lap 22 and Sutil pulled out just five laps later with three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel going onto win the race from Red Bull team mate Mark Webber and Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.
Di Resta said: “This was very frustrating for both Adrian and I. We were setting good lap times and I believe we could have finished inside the top six.
“The team will all work hard on the issues and have them fixed for China. We will go to the next round looking to score more points.”
Drivers’ standings after round two: 1. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 40; 2. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) 31; 3. Mark Webber (Red Bull) 26; 4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 25; 5. Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 22; 6. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 18; 7. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 12; 8. Romain Grosjean (Lotus) 9; 9. Adrian Sutil (Force India) 6; 10. Paul di Resta (Force India) 4.
The next F1 race is not until Sunday, April 14, when the teams travel to China.
In other motorsport news, the Silverstone-based Historic Sports Car Club (HSCC) has assembled a huge number of entrants for their Easter Revival meeting at Thruxton this weekend.
Formula 2 was part of the staple motor racing diet at Thruxton over the Easter period for many years and Historic F2 cars will headline this weekend’s bumper two-day epic at Britain’s fastest circuit.
This meeting is the second HSCC event of the 2013 season and comes quickly after their season opener at Donington Park two weeks ago.
All of the club’s main championships will be in action on Saturday and Sunday including Historic Formula Ford, the Martini Trophy and Roadsports.
Alan Jones, speaking for the HSCC, said: “We have a great entry for this meeting and everyone is really looking forward to racing at Thruxton. It is a great track with a long history.”
The British GT Championship kicks-off at Oulton Park on Monday with another huge entry assembled.
GT racing is going through something of a boom in Britain and across Europe and many new teams have been attracted to the British series for 2013. Advertiser & Review region drivers will be in action.
The British Touring Car Championship also roars into life this weekend at Brands Hatch.
With its host of support categories that include Formula Ford 200 and the Porsche Cup, the BTCC is Britain’s premier race package and will visit Silverstone later in the year.