Dr. Vijay Mallya insists Force India F1 has many reasons to be 'optimistic' looking ahead to the second half of the F1 2011 World Championship campaign – beginning with this weekend's German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring – but he stresses that the pace evinced thus far this season must now be converted into race day points.
Following a slow start to proceedings, FIF1 has made solid progress over the opening nine races of 2011, but the potential of the team's Mercedes-powered VJM04 – witness a superb top six qualifying effort for Paul di Resta on home turf at Silverstone just under a fortnight ago – has all-too frequently been masked by problems or setbacks during the races that mean there has been just a seventh and a ninth place for Adrian Sutil from the last seven outings.
That means the Silverstone-based squad sits just eighth in the constructors' standings at present, when it arguably has the sixth-fastest car at its disposal – and chairman and team principal Mallya is eager to see that raw speed concretised over the remaining ten grands prix.
“The German Grand Prix marks the midpoint of the season and is a good chance to stand back and assess our performance over the first nine races,” reflected the Kingfisher Airlines billionaire. “What is clear is that we have an excellent driver line-up and a car that is improving race-by-race, which gives us cause to be optimistic about the second half of the year. However, we know there is a big task ahead if we are to catch our closest competitors, Toro Rosso and Sauber.
“Looking back on Silverstone, we have to view it as a missed opportunity. With confusion on the pit wall, we failed to convert our excellent qualifying performance into points, which is incredibly frustrating. These things happen in racing, but we have put measures in-place to ensure such a situation cannot happen again.
“Although Silverstone became a race of unrealised potential, we can take a lot of positives from our performance. Over the last few races, we have demonstrated that the competitiveness of the car continues to improve and that we are capable of qualifying consistently in the top ten. What is important now is to deliver that performance in the races, where it matters most of all.”