Force India admit that not participating in last month’s test at Bahrain could leave them at an early disadvantage.
Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull and Toro Rosso all attended a three-day test arranged by the FIA “on safety grounds” so that tyre supplier Pirelli could advance their 2014 programme.
“It’s hard to know what those who tested learned, but I’m sure they learned something that we didn’t learn, so in that regard we are a bit behind,” said Force India’s chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer.
“Last year, tyres were our strong point at the beginning of the season and that didn’t happen by chance. I think we have the correct resources in place to be able to react to the new tyres.”
However he said the team should benefit from the early start they made to their 2014 programme.
“We’ve had a fruitful winter, helped by the fact that we deployed all of our resources early towards developing the 2014 car,” said Szafnauer. “That may have impacted on our performance in 2013, but I think it was the right decision.”
“As a smaller team you don’t have the resources to do all the required experiments in order to give you the best solutions for some of the problems,” he added. “Sometimes we have to take a best guess ?óÔé¼ÔÇ£ an educated and scientific guess ?óÔé¼ÔÇ£ as to what the solutions should be. When you don’t have all the data, and when you are making some decisions that way, you could be right in your guesses.”
Szafnauer played down the possibility that 2014’s regulations change could be an opportunity for one of the smaller teams to spring a surprise.
“Like most things in life, having more resources usually wins. We are competing against manufacturer teams with big budgets so you would expect their well-funded research will help them find the optimal solutions.
“But you never know: we?óÔé¼Ôäóve been focussed on 2014 for a long time and we?óÔé¼Ôäóre pleased with the car we?óÔé¼Ôäóve produced so there?óÔé¼Ôäós always an opportunity.”
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Image ?é?® Daimler/Hoch Zwei