Sahara Force India
boss Vijay Mallya says his team would be foolish to underestimate McLaren
in the battle for fifth in the F1 constructors' championship.
Despite failing to score in two successive races, Force India
stayed ahead of the former champions going into the summer break and will take a two-point advantage into the Belgian Grand Prix
hoping to come on strong when racing resumes, it remains to been if Force India
can maintain its advantage and Mallya insisted he was expecting a tough challenge.
"At Silverstone we were 22 points ahead of McLaren
and everyone came and asked me the same question [about whether we could stay ahead],” he told ESPN
. “I said, look, I'm not a fool. McLaren
is a multiple world championship team, they have humongous resources and it would be naive bordering on stupid to think that McLaren
won't pick up their performance.
"I think at the last race, a one-race win would have wiped out the entire deficit. They are capable of winning races whereas Sahara Force India
are still stepping up the ladder. I'm not surprised they have closed the gap, but we are still in front. We will do our best to continue our good form in the second half of the season and at the end of the day it is Brazil that will matter and it's just one point in the championship that could also matter - as we learned three years ago as Williams
got ahead of us with one point."
Having previously admitted that changes to the Pirelli tyre has played a part his team's recent loss of form, Mallya revealed that working to gain more from the tyres was a major focus ahead of the resumption of racing.
"We will use this break to really try to understand what is going on,” he said. “I don't think it's an impossibility [to get back on top of the tyres], we started this season well understanding the tyres and that contributed to our performance in the first half of the season. Now it is just about getting ready for the second half.
"The change in tyres after Silverstone has certainly made a difference, but we need to come up the curve and get to know the tyres better, but otherwise it is a good car, the drivers are happy and there's no reason why we shouldn't be continuing with our form."