Formula 1 returns to the Spielberg circuit for the first time since 2003, when the Silverstone-based outfit was competing as Jordan Grand Prix.
He is expecting another close fight, but believes the team’s 2014 car will be competitive at the 2.688 mile track. “The last time Formula 1 raced there, the cars were very different from what they are now so it is difficult to predict how the pecking order will be,” he said.
“We don’t expect massive surprises, however – cars that have been competitive so far will retain their advantage.
“The track layout seems likely to be favourable to the characteristics of the VJM07, but the competitive order is very tight and we will need to be performing at our best to come away with a good result.”
It was a bittersweet weekend for Mallya’s team at the last race in Canada, with Nico Hulkenberg finishing fifth and Sergio Perez crashing out on the final lap after a collision with Felipe Massa.
“The car, the team and the drivers performed admirably throughout the whole weekend,” he said. “The VJM07 was very competitive; we got all the strategy calls right and we were on course for one of our best ever results.
“The accident for Sergio on the last lap took that away from us, but we should not forget the positives: our tyre management was excellent and we were able to race at the front and challenge for the win. It was one of our strongest races.”
Force India is currently fourth in the constructors’ standings with 77 points, following the best start to a season in the team’s history. “I am very proud of what the team has achieved so far, but by no means are we going to ease off at this point,” Mallya admitted.
“The development race is not going to stop: we are working hard to bring updates to the car and give our drivers an even better chance to score big results.
“Of course, we have shown a good level of consistency, being able to score in every race so far, and we want to continue to be able to ruffle a few feathers in the top spots.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic