Force India team principal Vijay Mallya has shared his concerns over maintaining sixth place in the constructor’s standings. The Silverstone based squad had been looking to reclaim fifth place from McLaren, but now they are at risk of losing their current position to the improved Sauber team.
The Swiss outfit have undoubtedly been the most improved team of the season after scoring just six points in the first eight races. As F1 headed to Germany for the ninth round of the 2013 season, they trailed Force India by 53 points. However, after benefiting from the changes made to the Pirelli tyres and bringing in a raft of new upgrades, they have bounced back. With Force India scoring only three points over the last seven rounds, Sauber have closed to within 17 points.
Mallya is expecting a real fight between the two teams, saying: “Sauber have been doing a very good job lately. They are the in-form team at the moment and they have been taking all the opportunities that were presented to them. It’s going to be a real fight in these last four races: we need to make a step forward to hold them off, because they can qualify well and they have strong race pace as well.”
Commenting on the team’s home race in India, he said: “Our home race is always a very proud weekend for everyone in the team: the atmosphere at the track is incredible and we always enjoy plenty of support. The track itself is one of the best in the world. It’s also a good one for us – in the last two years we scored points in both races, so a similar result would be a good target for the team.”
Paul di Resta is targeting a return to the points in India. He said: “We didn’t score points in Japan but we made some real progress with setting up the car, so going an extra step and getting in the top ten has got to be the goal this weekend. Friday is going to be crucial because this is one of those tracks where finding the right rhythm with a well-balanced car really pays you back with lap time.”
Team-mate Adrian Sutil believes scoring points will be a tough task, although he feels that the team is making progress: “I think scoring points will be a big task, but we will go there ready to fight. The last couple of races have not been easy for us and I’ve struggled to get the balance and consistency with the car. We are moving forward, however – we’ve learned a lot from the last two races so hopefully that will help us find a direction that gives me the confidence to push the car harder.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic