17 June 2014
Mallya: We want to continue ruffling feathers...
Force India team owner Vijay Mallya is enjoying getting amongst F1's 'big boys' in 2014, and hopes the trend continues in Austria this weekend.
Force India team owner Vijay Mallya says there will be no let up in his squad's efforts to get among the expected F1 frontrunners.
Looking ahead to this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix, the Indian entrepreneur will be looking to Sergio Perez and, given his 100 per cent scoring record in 2014, Nico Hulkenberg to extend the team's run of points finishes. The German has only once finished lower than sixth – taking tenth place in Barcelona – and has four fifth-place results to his name as Force India continues to hold down fourth overall in the constructors' table.
“I am very proud of what the team has achieved so far, but by no means are we going to ease off at this point,” Mallya insisted, “The development race is not going to stop, so we are working hard to bring updates to the car and give our drivers an even better chance to score big results. Of course, we have shown a good level of consistency, being able to score in every race so far, and we want to continue to be able to ruffle a few feathers in the top spots.”
The last race, in Canada, promised even more than a brace of points finishes, as Perez ran second to Nico Rosberg for a long while before slipping back behind the two Red Bulls. Whilst looking to challenge Sebastian Vettel for a return to the podium positions, Perez collided with Williams' Felipe Massa, ending both their races on the spot.
“Let's not forget that Nico drove a brilliant race to score another ten points but, up until the last lap, it looked like being an even sweeter result with both cars very well placed,” Mallya reflected, “Sadly it was not meant to be, but the car, the team and the drivers performed admirably throughout the whole weekend.
“The VJM07 was very competitive; we got all the strategy calls right and we were on course for one of our best ever results. The accident for Sergio on the last lap took that away from us, but we should not forget the positives: our tyre management was excellent and we were able to race at the front and challenge for the win. It was one of our strongest races.”
Austria will be a new experience for a lot of people in F1, Force India amongst them, but Mallya is confident that his team will again be very close to the front.
“The last time F1 raced there, the cars were very different from what they are now so it is difficult to predict how the pecking order will be,” he reasoned, “We don't expect massive surprises, however - cars that have been competitive so far will retain their advantage. The track layout seems likely to be favourable to the characteristics of the VJM07, but the competitive order is very tight and we will need to be performing at our best to come away with a good result.”
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