Force India F1 chairman and boss, Vijay Mallya has said he is confident his team will be able to 'carry the momentum forward' this weekend in Australia and once again finish in the top ten.

The Silverstone-based outfit made an extremely encouraging start at the F1 2010 curtain raiser in Bahrain two weeks ago. Indeed not only did they get points straight off, after Vitantonio Liuzzi finished ninth, but Adrian Sutil also ran well in the sister car and would have scored too but for an unfortunate incident at the start. In the end Sutil came home in twelfth, setting the second quickest lap of the race in the process.

Now the team will look to maintain that form in Melbourne and with some new aero developments there is a real sense of optimism.

"It's what our objective was over the winter," said Mallya when asked about the team's form in Bahrain and if he was pleased that they were best of the rest behind the 'big four'. "We set ourselves an internal objective of finishing fifth in the World Championship. I know there's a long way to go, but it's the right start.

"We've got a solid car to start with, and we've got a good base, and now it's about the development rate for the rest of the year. It was fantastic for Tonio to have scored points for the first time since 2007. Adrian's second fastest lap means there's also some good for him to take out of the race too.

"I think we all acknowledge that last year our progress was sporadic - on some tracks we were very quick, on others not so good - so to come out this strongly is a really good step forward. With the new upgrades we have in the pipeline for Australia I can say with every faith that we can carry the momentum forward."

Mallya meanwhile has also been encouraged by the support his team is getting from his home country.

"F1 is growing by leaps and bounds in India. Firstly they have an Indian team and now, in the form of Karun Chandhok [who drives for HRT], they have an Indian driver. The fans now have genuine interest to hold on to," Mallya continued.

"Sure, people were aware of the big legends of the sport - Ferrari, Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton - but for them to have tangible, identifiable properties is the difference between a minority sport and national interest. With the Indian Grand Prix now looking very promising it's really building - you've got these heroes and now you can go and watch them too. You can see the interest growing day by day, on our social networking site we've got more than one million followers."


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