22/08/2011

Force India's journey so far - sluggish start, rapid development!

The final installment of our "journey so far" feature sees us review Force India's journey so far! Enjoy.

Darshan Chokhani
The team announced a new driver this season replacing Vitantonio Liuzzi, it was our 2010’s reserve driver Paul Di Resta. Along with him our experienced driver Adrian Sutil continued with Nico Hulkenberg as our reserve driver. Pretty strong line-up, I would say for the season from the outset. The team began with its winter testing program in the 2010 car, gaining much needed information from the Pirelli tyres and steps to develop the cars.

Force India had a lucky start to the season, you have to admit it along with performance. They had their first double point finish of the season as yet in the first race itself, when both the Sauber’s were DSQ. As yet, they have had some mix races. The highlight is surely the two races (i.e Germany and Hungary) before the season break began. In Germany they got their best race finish courtesy of Sutil at P6 while in Britain they had their best qualifying result courtesy Paul at P6. They had few non scoring races in the beginning but it looks like now they are in good position. The reliability has been excellent so far, with only 3 DNF’s (two for Paul & one for Sutil).

With venues like Belgium, Italy, Brazil (and maybe even India) coming up, I think the team has a very good chance to topple Sauber from P6 position in Construction Championship, the gap is only 9 points. I was pleased with the recent surge in the performance by the team, never doubted the team ability. Both Sutil & Paul has done reasonably well and the pair is one of the best in the current line up. I am looking forward for them to race in Indian GP and score some good points.

Peter Santamaria-Woods
The first four races of the season were expected to be poor for Force India as the team stated that during the off-season they had focused on reliability rather than outright speed; plus the first major performance package would not be until the first European race in Spain. However the teams expectations were exceeded with three points finishes from eight starts during the first four races! The first race in Australia was actually a double points finish with Adrian 9th and Paul 10th, the team's only double points finish to date.

Between race five (Spain) and race nine (Britain) the team had a bit of a lull in performance but they still managed to pick up two points finishes in that time - and the fact is that it could have been more were it not for bad luck!

During the lull period Sauber pulled away from the Indian outfit however the last two races have seen greatly improved pace and the gap to Sauber in now just nine points!

As for the drivers; Adrian was expected to be strong and get the maximum out of the car - he has done that well. Paul on the other hand was an unknown entity. Sure he was DTM champion, and he had driven in FP1 several times in 2010 but in a real F1 race weekend it was unknown how he would be perform. Quite simply, he has been brilliant! Immediately on the pace of Adrian! The fans and the team themselves are very happy with the Scotsman and he should be happy with himself too!

Force India have a little problem in that reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg is also very strong and wants a race seat for 2012. Three quick drivers is an issue, however it's a very nice problem to have so should not be thought of as negative in any way.

Given the fact that the VJM04 is now considerably faster than Saubers C30 it is looking increasingly possible that Force India will overtake Sauber in the constructors championship. In addition to this, many of the circuits coming up (Belgium, Italy, Brazil and based on track characteristics India too) should be strong races for Force India and thus we should rack up the points nicely barring any reliability issues.

That concludes the "journey so far" feature, but don't worry; we'll have an interesting article on Force India's chances in the Belgian GP over the coming days so keep and eye out for that.

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