People who doubted Force India’s ability to compete at the top of the grid can “eat their words” says team boss Vijay Mallya, after it defended its fourth position at the constructors’ championship.
Of the ten teams on the grid, Force India has one of the smallest budgets. There were doubts that the outfit cannot keep its fourth place in the championship after a significant change in regulations for 2017.
But thanks to an impressive in-season development and a consistent performance by their drivers, Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, the team could hold on to fourth with a comfortable gap of 104 points.
During the summer break, there were concerns that the team may run out of money for further development by Singapore GP. But Mallya had brushed aside such doubts and said the team’s development work would continue as planned.
Speaking at the Autosport Awards, Mallya said: “We set out to achieve third but landed up with fourth for the second year running,”
“I had many sceptics who I advise to eat their own words and I hope it tastes good.
“I’m very proud that with our limited resource we’ve been able to punch well above our weight.
“Thanks to Otmar [Szafnauer, chief operating officer] and his leadership, [technical director] Andy Green, [chief engineer] Tom [McCullogh], [sporting director] Andy Stevenson.
“I have a great team of racers, with racing in their blood and who knows how to make the most of what we have. We never give up.
“The targets for 2018 will be set high again, and we’re ready for our competition.”
Force India outscored Renault, Williams and McLaren; all put together
Deputy team principal Bob Fernley said: “Coming in to this season, we were concerned about Renault, Williams and McLaren,”
“The underlying strength of the result is demonstrated in that we have outscored all three of them put together, which is remarkable.
“Credit to everybody. It’s not just what we do here; it’s also what is going on at the factory. It’s a team effort. That’s the difference between where we are and where others are sometimes.
“We’re a racing team. Reliability is the key. I think we have the second most reliable record behind Mercedes.
“It’s not just to do with the power unit. It’s a contributor, but it’s also about the chassis and how the race team is working.”