23 October 2012
Mallya targets two in points at home race
Vijay Mallya says that Sahara Force India needs to get both its drivers into the points at this weekend's Indian Grand Prix.
Sahara Force India team owner Vijay Mallya has admitted that nothing short of getting both cars into the top ten at his home race will suffice this weekend.
Despite enduring legal woes in the past couple of weeks, the Indian is looking forward to returning to the Buddh International Circuit for the second Indian Grand Prix, but says that, given the current form of both Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg - and the fact that Adrian Sutil finished in the points a year ago - the team can only aim to get two scoring results as it continues its pursuit of sixth place in the constructors' championship on Sunday.
"I remember how proud I felt last year to see our cars racing in India in the colours of the Indian flag," Mallya reflected, "It was a moment I had dreamed about and a great sporting achievement for our country. To score points was the icing on the cake.
"This year, I would like to go one better and see both our cars in the points – at the very least – so that we can give our fans something to smile about. The gap to Sauber is now 27 points. It's a big lead, but not impossible to catch them before the end of the year. There's still a lot of racing to go and we will keep the pressure up for the final four races."
Although di Resta missed the top ten in Korea last time out, Hulkenberg came home in an excellent sixth spot and Mallya is confident that the team can continue to build on its recent upturn in performance.
"It certainly feels like we have upped our game since the summer break, and it has been satisfying to see us up there fighting for good points," he noted, "The only frustration is that we have not always managed to get two cars in the points and that has hurt us in the championship.
"But, in terms of outright performance, I think we can be pleased with our level of consistency. We've had at least one car in the top ten of qualifying in over 80 per cent of the races and scored points in 75 per cent of the races. While we may not have finished on the podium this year, it is our consistency that has been key to our success and kept us in the fight."
di Resta has not scored points for a couple of races, having posted back-to-back twelfth-place finishes in Japan and Korea, and is looking forward to breaking back into the top ten at Force India's home race
"There's pressure on us to perform and, clearly, we need to go there ready to keep the momentum going," the Scot conceded, "It's a busy week for everyone involved with the team and there's a lot going on in terms of media work and extra events, but it won't distract from our focus to come away with the best result we can.
"We've got to go there and qualify in the top ten. That will get us in contention and allow us to concentrate on the race. All year, we've shown that we have a car capable of reaching Q3, but the grid is very close and we don't have any margin, so we need everything to come together perfectly. Based on our performance last year, we looked quite competitive at this track so you've got to hope that will carry over for this year."
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