19 November 2013
Brazilian Grand Prix: No room for complacency at Force India
Sahara Force India cannot afford to relax in Brazil, despite being 24 points clear of Sauber, according to team boss Vijay Mallya.
Vijay Mallya says that his Sahara Force India team cannot afford to let its guard down as it prepares for the final round of the 2013 world championship in Brazil this weekend.
Although the Silverstone-based team is comfortably ahead of nearest rival Sauber in the constructors' standings, the Swiss team's improved second-half form is making Mallya reluctant to count on keeping sixth place in the table, while Paul di Resta faces the very possibility of being overtaken by Nico Hulkenberg for tenth in the drivers' standings.
“It was important that we secured such strong results in India and Abu Dhabi,” Mallya admitted, “As I said before Austin, it gave us some breathing space and we are still 24 points ahead of our nearest competitor. I think the odds are in our favour, but there's no room for complacency - we need to make sure we get the job done in Interlagos.”
Although it appears to have been affected most by Pirelli's decision to revert to 2012-spec tyres, on safety grounds, midway through the 2013 season, Force India has good memories of last year's finale, when Hulkenberg – then racing in orange, white and green – led for some time, ahead of McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari.
“The weather forecast is for some rain and that would introduce an element of unpredictability,” Mallya said of Sunday's race, “That was the case last year when Nico was leading, so we have good memories of Interlagos. It's a lovely track and I'm looking forward to it - it's the last race of a long season, and the end of an era before the new rules come into force next season.”
Unable to add to its points tally in Austin – where an aggressive tyre strategy failed to pay off for di Resta and a first lap accident accounted for Adrian Sutil – Force India appears mired in sixth place overall, although the Scot is not about to give up the fight, especially with Hulkenberg not only looming in the championship, but also as a potential threat to his seat in 2014.
“In terms of points scored, this has been my best season in F1, but it would be great to round off the year with a special result,” he pointed out, “It's the final race for the V8 engines, so I really hope we can end the era on a positive note.
“The weather forecast looks uncertain and it's a track which always generates an interesting grand prix, but, because it's such a small track, every hundredth and thousandth of a second becomes even more critical in qualifying. It may be small, but it has everything you need from a track!
“It's also one of the most atmospheric weekends of the year. - the fans are the loudest, and very passionate about F1. There are drums playing in the grandstands and a party mood all the time - it's great to see and it definitely gives you a buzz.”
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