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Mallya: We need a strong performance in Japan

Force India F1 team principal and chairman Dr. Vijay Mallya admits that he is well aware just how pivotal the upcoming races are - but he insists he is optimistic about the Silverstone-based squad's chances at Suzuka
Dr. Vijay Mallya has forecast a more competitive performance from Force India F1 in next weekend's Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka – and the Indian entrepreneur confesses that the team needs just such a showing if it is to successfully achieve its target of staving off the threat of a fast-closing Williams for sixth position in the final constructors' standings.

In Singapore last time out, FIF1 tallied a mere two points courtesy of Adrian Sutil's ninth place, with Vitantonio Liuzzi in the sister car crashing into retirement on only the opening lap following contact with Sauber returnee Nick Heidfeld. In Italy a fortnight earlier still, neither driver had troubled the scorers on a dismal weekend from which much, much more had been expected – and over the same period, Williams has notched up no fewer than 16 points with a brace of double top ten finishes.

That has left the former multiple world champions perilously within touching-distance of their Silverstone-based rivals at just four points adrift heading to Japan, but Mallya is hopeful that a new aerodynamic boost allied to a circuit layout that, like Spa-Francorchamps – where Sutil took the chequered flag an excellent fifth – should play to the strengths of the Mercedes-powered VJM03, will help Force India to stay in front.

“Singapore was a so-so event for us,” mused the Kingfisher Airlines billionaire. “Qualifying was disappointing, but we were happy with the way things went eventually in the race in that we scored points and demonstrated good race pace. Adrian finished eighth on the road [before being penalised back to ninth], which was a credible achievement after starting 15th. It was unfortunate for Tonio, but it was a racing incident that can, and does, happen.

“I'm looking forward to Suzuka, as I feel we have a chance to be a bit more competitive – I would hope we could show a level of performance similar to Spa this year. Our car favours the low-downforce tracks slightly more than the high such as Singapore, and whether it's wet or dry, both drivers love it, which gives extra confidence.

“I'm not going to repeat our objective, as everyone knows what we want and need to achieve in terms of points to maintain position. We are giving ourselves every tool we have available – we have another aero development package to put on the car, with a couple of bodywork tweaks to eke out every possible performance advantage. The drivers are fully-motivated as well – we all know what's at stake.”

To that end, it has been confirmed that FIF1 test and reserve driver Paul di Resta – increasingly linked with a race seat promotion in 2011 – will sit out Friday practice, in order to enable Sutil and Liuzzi the maximum time and opportunity to prepare for the competitive action.

“Unfortunately, I won't be out in FP1 in Japan, for similar reasons to Singapore,” revealed the Scot. “It's such an important time in the year that we need to play the team game and give ourselves every advantage we can; plus, the team will have some new aero tweaks to try out, so Adrian and Tonio need the time to get used to them and give some feedback for the race.

“As I've not seen the track before and have in fact never been to Japan, it will still be another new experience for me. Suzuka is one of those places you hear so much about – all the drivers love it and talk about the challenges of each corner, so I can't wait to see it for myself! There's so much history about it, with world championships decided there some years, so I'm sure it will be a very special place to be, particularly when there's so much at stake this year as well.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Saturday Practice, Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA), Force India F1 Team, VJM03
Sunday, Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA), Force India F1 Team, VJM03
Thursday, Adrian Sutil (GER), Force India F1 Team, VJM03
Qualifying, Adrian Sutil (GER), Force India F1 Team, VJM03
Saturday Practice, Vijay Mallya (IND), Chairman and Managine Director Force India
Vijay Mallya (IND) Managing Director, Force India F1, Canadian F1 Grand Prix, Montreal, 6th-8th, June, 2008
25.06.2017 - Race, Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
25.06.2017 - Race, 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, 1st place Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB13, 2nd place Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 and 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB13 race winner and 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
25.06.2017 - Race, Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40

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Johnny86 - Unregistered

October 03, 2010 1:06 PM

@vetti not really.the car name is the intial s of all three owner him and two "Mol" .one of them is melanie Mole.forgot the J- name.plz dont comment with wrong info.

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