Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Shanghai International Circuit, 2016

Force India “expected more” from opening races

2016 Russian Grand Prix

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Force India co-owner Vijay Mallya says his team expected more from the first races of the year but it taking heart from the slow start they made to last year’s successful campaign.

“In all honesty we expected more from the start of the season,” said Mallya, “but for various reasons the cards have not fallen for us”.

“It’s worth making a comparison with 2015 because after three races last year we were in a similar position with seven points – one point more than we have this year – and that turned out to be our most successful season ever.”

Sergio Perez gave the team its only podium finish last year at Sochi, the venue for the next race, and Mallya expects the team to add to its points haul in Russia.

“The objective is to be inside the top ten in qualifying and the race,” he said. “That’s a realistic goal and we will be disappointed if we don’t come away with some points.”

“We demonstrated last year that we can be competitive in Sochi and it’s also the 100th race weekend for Nico [Hulkenberg] and Checo [Perez], so we want to celebrate the occasion with a special result.”

Mallya said there is “no doubt” the team’s VJM09 chassis is “inherently quick”.

“We’ve always qualified inside the top ten and Checo lined up seventh on the grid in China. In the race we fell a bit short, so that is one area where we can improve.”

“We are also working hard to bring an upgrade package to Barcelona: it’s an aero step and further suspension evolutions, which will bring some performance gains.”

2016 Russian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 13 comments on “Force India “expected more” from opening races”

    1. Last heard an arrest warrant was out against him. I am surprised he is still involved in f1

      1. I thought that was the exciting profile F1 was after for their managers?

      2. F1 is criminals galore. Seriously, SFI tends to under perform when their car is doing better, and the opposite when they are slow.

    2. Force India are the biggest underachievers this year.

      The VJM09 was frequently the 4th or 5th best car on the grid, equalling Williams and/or Toro Rosso, on pure pace, believe it or not, but they are just continuously unable to take their chances.

      They made strategic mistakes or pit lane errors in their last FOUR competitive sessions (two qualis plus two races) and when all seemed well, Perez torpedoed Sainz in Bahrain.

      The one clean race they were able to do with their six starts in three races was Hulkenberg’s Melbourne showing.

      It’s quite unbelieveable, to be honest.

      1. Yes, it is quite surprising really, how badly they have performed in the races so far.
        One would have expected them to carry the same momentum they ended 2015 with into the new season but that hasn’t been the case.
        Unfortunately, it is a bit hard to place the exact source of their problem. They have 2 good drivers, a good power unit, monetary compensation from their 5th place finish, resources from investors and earnings from sponsors and the like.
        So what is the problem at Force India for them not to be further up the field?

        1. As I said, it’s strategy mainly.

          In Bahrain, they messed up the elimination quali with Perez and even after Hulkenberg was caught out in a racing incident and Perez drove into the back of a Toro Rosso (driver error), they were catching the field with good pace (and new front wings) before they decided to fit super-softs for an eternity at the end. They reached the cliff and there was no way back.

          In Shanghai, they dropped Hulkenberg down with the penalty from his Q3 loose wheel before the German threw away his race with the penalty for his pit entry slowdown antics. Even so, Force India somehow decided to cut short their second soft stint on both cars, even after Perez got free air after being stuck behind a McLaren for a lot of laps, and elongate their last stints and the result was roughly the same as it was in Bahrain. Pace dropped off, tyres went off and they failed to score.

          They indeed had minor misfortune as well, such as the red flag in Melbourne which hurt Perez very badly, but not to the extent they claim.

          I think Mallya’s issues do have an effect on them, especially considering that the strategy issues and the loose wheel are both operational mistakes.

          1. The strategist needs to be fired imediatly. Not the first time this person gets it completely wrong.

    3. Has Mallya been at any previous races this season? I guess Russia’s the safest place for him if the Indian authorities are after him…

      1. No, he hasn’t attended a race this season so far.

      2. His diplomatic passport (he’s an Indian MP) has been revoked, so I’m not sure how he would get to any races……….

        1. Throw him in the container with the carbon fiber parts.

    4. They have a lot of problems at currently…

    5. I think SFI is going to finish 8th this season (only ahead of Manor, Lotus and Sauber) until they drastically improves their overall package later this season.

    Comments are closed.