The Silverstone based squad showed some strong pace earlier in the season, consistently out-performing McLaren and leading them in the team standings. However, since Pirelli changed their tyre compounds mid-season Force India have slipped back and dropped behind their Woking based rivals.
Mallya believes McLaren are still within reach, saying in a team statement: “The objective has not changed. McLaren have a points lead over us, but they are not totally out of reach. As I’ve said before, turning on the tyres is paramount and we are working hard to achieve this. There are a lot of points on offer and we need to try and regain the performance level we showed in the first part of the season.”
Looking ahead to the Korean Grand Prix, Mallya is hoping that the team can improve their qualifying pace: “It’s never been our strongest track, although we did score some points there last year. It’s quite low-grip and the cooler temperatures make it a very different challenge. We will go there ready to learn as much as possible, try and improve our qualifying pace and come up with a smart strategy for Sunday.”
Paul Di Resta is moving on from the disappointment of Singapore and is now looking forward to Korea and a track that he enjoys: “It’s an unusual track, but definitely a place that I enjoy driving. The three sectors are all very different with long straights linked by hairpins, some high-speed corners and a slower technical part of the lap. The tyre choices are the same as in Singapore so it will be interesting to see how they perform. We’ve always gone well on the supersofts, but struggled more on the medium compound so hopefully we can switch it on this weekend.”
Team-mate Adrian Sutil is also a fan of the circuit and is expecting some interesting strategy calls during the race: “I quite like the track and I’m looking forward to it. I haven’t been so successful there yet, but I want to make up for that this year. The circuit has a nice layout and a nice flow in the second part of the lap with some high-speed corners. Let’s see how the supersoft performs because the corners are very hard on the tyres. That could open up some interesting strategies.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic