25 August 2012
Q&A: Vijay Mallya, Force India
Vijay Mallya: Fundamentally it's a good car. We just need to put a few more points in our pocket, that's what's important.
Force India F1 team boss Vijay Mallya looks back on the last race in Hungary and looks ahead to the second half of the season...
Dr Mallya, it seems like a long time since we were in Hungary, but what was your verdict on that race?
When you look at how the race unfolded, you can see that we suffered with our qualifying performance. It's very difficult to overtake in Hungary, so I guess we finished pretty much where we started. It was disappointing to miss out on points, but both cars came home ahead of Sauber, our main competitor. We need to spend some more time analysing what we can do better.
How difficult is it to get everything right this season?
Sitting on the pit wall and listening to the predictions and guesswork on tyres is unbelievable. The most unpredictable part of this season has been the tyres and with the high temperatures in Hungary it was always a debate - two stops or three stops. One thing I was pretty sure of was that nobody was going to try a one-stop.
Do you know what to focus on for the rest of the year?
It's a complete package. It's the car on the track, and whether it's the set-up, whether it's the downforce, whether it's the tyres, at the end of the day the whole thing has to come together as a package. Fundamentally it's a good car. We just need to put a few more points in our pocket, that's what's important.
The team has often performed well at both Spa and Monza, but you've always said the car needs to be consistently fast at all types of track…
Spa and Monza are among our favourite races and we've done well there in the past. We look forward to doing better in both of them, before the flyaway races start. But yes, the car has to be competitive on every track.
What's your realistic target for the second half of the season?
We were sixth in the constructors' championship last year and we had the objective this year of coming fifth. However, the improvement of Lotus has been exceptionally dramatic, so I think to target fifth is probably overreaching our capabilities for this year. We should at least target sixth, where we finished last year, and that means getting ahead of both Sauber and Williams.
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