Paul di Resta has urged Force India to continue improving their car, after a highly competitive start to the new season for the Silverstone-based outfit. In the first four races, the team has led 14 laps with both drivers and are currently ahead of McLaren in the Constructors’ Championship.
However, Paul di Resta believes his team needs to continue introducing upgrades to the car throughout the year for them to remain a competitive force alongside the likes of McLaren, Mercedes and Lotus. The Scot narrowly missed out on his first podium in the sport last time out at the Bahrain Grand Prix, after being overtaken by Romain Grosjean towards the end of the race. After utilizing a three-stop strategy, Grosjean managed to outpace di Resta after the 27-year-old elected for a two-stop strategy during the race.
Despite finish 4th at the Bahrain Grand Prix, a result which equalled his best finish in the sport, Paul di Resta and Force India were naturally disappointed in just missing out on a podium finish. The Silverstone-based outfit has finished on the podium once before with Giancarlo Fisichella at the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix, whereas Paul di Resta has yet to do so in his 43 starts in the sport. The Scotsman has urged his team to continue introducing upgrades to the car, and is fully confident that a podium finish is possible with the way the car is currently performing.
“We should take a huge amount of credit from the first four Grands Prix, but the team are going to have to work hard and bring updates if they want this podium – they are going to have to work more for it than we are.” Explained Paul di Resta, in an interview with Sky Sports F1 after the Bahrain Grand Prix. “They want a podium – well give me a faster car and I will get a podium! So if they work a bit harder in the design office and we get some more resources there is no reason we cannot do it. As a team we are performing to our maximum capacity, it is just a case of getting that bit more to give us a bit more comfort at the end of races and to get us in the position in qualifying every week to do that.”
So far it has been a confusing season for Force India, with their Mercedes-powered VJM06 machine performing well in varying conditions. Initially it was thought their car was strong in hot weather conditions, however their car failed to excel in the heat of qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix. However, during the cooler race, the car was quick and enabled Paul di Resta to finish 8th after starting from 11th. In the heat of Malaysia the team was on for a competitive result, however issues with their wheel nuts forced them both into retirement.
“I think that is where we would have been in Malaysia, so we can tell the car is performing well when it is hot.” Continued Paul di Resta, “We cannot put our finger on it – we were quicker in the race in China when it was cooler, but not so quick in qualifying when it was warmer. We can’t put our finger on it, but when you get in the right operating window, it makes a big difference. You can see that up and down the paddock – we were a second off pole, but the car that started first finished ninth.”
Although Force India has so far enjoyed a competitive start to the season, it is expected that McLaren will gradually strike back when upgrades are introduced to their car during the European season. With Force India still regarded as a midfield team with a midfield budget, it will unquestionably be a tough ordeal for the team to remain as competitive as the season progresses. Irregardless of this fact, Force India has certainly improved throughout recent years, and will surely snatch their second podium sooner rather than later.
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