26 September 2014
F1: Mallya revelling in McLaren battle
Vijay Mallya vows to do what it takes to keep Force India ahead of 'the great McLaren' all the way to F1 season's end in Abu Dhabi.
Force India owner Vijay Mallya is 'loving' this season's ongoing scrap with McLaren, admitting that battling the 'big boys' provides an added 'high' to life in F1.
Force India outscored its Woking rival by eight points in last Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix, reversing their positions in the battle for fifth place in the constructors' standings with five races remaining, and Mallya has vowed to take the fight right through the double-points finale in Abu Dhabi.
“Of course I'm loving it,” he enthused, “Let's make it clear... when you race with the big boys and are ahead of them, it gives you that extra bit of a high, doesn't it? I'm a racer myself and I get excited about these things…
“I refer to McLaren as the 'great McLaren' and I truly believe that that's a world championship team, so I'm not going to take them for granted. I'm going to throw everything I have at it and fight like hell and, at the end of the day, we'll see [what happens]. But, for a team like Force India to be engaged in such a competitive battle with a team like the great McLaren says a lot about us and I feel quite proud about it.”
Things didn't look too promising after both Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez trailed the McLarens in qualifying, but Mallya and the team knew that there would be more to come on Sunday.
“Qualifying wasn't the most encouraging sign, but I have to say that, for whatever reason, this year's car has never been good over one lap,” the Indian admitted, “Somehow we've never qualified well, but we have strong race pace and that is what has enabled us to score the points that we have - 117 points is the highest in the history of this team ever, so I am particularly delighted, but to be fifth in the constructors, ahead of a great team like McLaren, is even sweeter.”
In order to ensure that his team is given the best chance of staying ahead of its main rival, Mallya has sanctioned continued development of the VJM07 – although he knows that there are likely to be more long-term benefits to that decision too.
“McLaren cannot be taken for granted,” he repeated, “They're going to fight, so we have to continue the fight to the last race. We have a few updates coming and I'm sure they have too.
“I don't have the budget that McLaren has – that's a known fact and something I don't have to prove or disprove. I don't know what they do, or how they spend their money, but I certainly keep a tight watch on how we spend our money. I know there is another upgrade coming for later on this season and that's all part of the plan.
“The only reason I am approving this development up to the last race, which I never did before in previous seasons, is because, whatever we are doing now in terms of development, can be carried forward into next year's car. If it was full stop at the end of this season, and start again for next year, I may not have bothered to do what I am doing. But, because all the development that's happening as we speak can actually carry forward until 2015, it's also an investment in next year's car, which is why we're continuing the development.”
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