Sahara Force India team principal Vijay Mallya says the fight for fifth in the constructors standings is still well and truly on, with the Silverstone based squad duelling with former front-runners McLaren.
Mallya believes that McLaren are still catchable and that fifth is a realistic target, but he admits that the team is still working hard to regain performance lost from the mid-season tyre change.
Speaking in a team statement he said: “It is going to be a close fight, but the good news is that McLaren still aren’t that far ahead. They only scored one point in Monza, so they are definitely catchable. We need to perform better ourselves, that’s very clear.
“We’re working hard to find more performance, but at the same time we’ve made it quite clear that we will not compromise next year’s programme. It’s always a balancing act, but we know what we need to do.”
Driver Paul Di Resta goes into the weekend after two consecutive race weekends outside of the points. He crashed out on the first lap in Italy but looking ahead to Singapore, he is unsure where Force India will sit in the pecking order.
He said: “Given our form lately it’s difficult to know what to expect. It’s a track I enjoy, a great venue and we had a great result there last year with fourth place. It would be great to try and repeat that, but it’s going to be tough given how competitive the grid is at the moment.”
Team-mate Adrian Sutil believes that a strong qualifying session will help set the team up to challenge for a good result in the race and is expecting a few surprises in Singapore: “We’ve got to qualify well to give ourselves the best chance of scoring points. We are still close to McLaren in the championship and we need to make sure we keep a healthy margin ahead of Toro Rosso and Sauber.
“Singapore can sometimes generate surprises and there’s always the risk of rain, so as a team we need to be ready to react quickly and make the most of any opportunities.”
Sahara Force India currently sit five points behind McLaren in the constructors championship, 30 points clear of Toro Rosso and with Di Resta and Sutil occupying 10th and 11th in the driver’s standings.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic