Having achieved a target many felt was 'over-optimistic', Force India team principal Vijay Mallya is hoping for a strong finish to the 2015 F1 season, beginning at this weekend's US Grand Prix in Texas.
Even before the introduction of the B-spec VJM08 midway through the campaign, Mallya had already set his sights on podium finishes, but had to wait until Sergio Perez claimed third place in a dramatic Russian round to achieve that aim. With both the Mexican and team-mate Nico Hulkenberg producing good results between misfortunes – one the pair has been involved in contact in each of the past three races – Force India has put itself firmly amongst the top five constructors, and Mallya is keen to see that continue at one of his favourite stops on the schedule.
“Austin always puts on a great event and the fans show lots of enthusiasm for our sport,” he noted, “Luck wasn't on our side there last year, but there is every reason to believe we can be competitive this year and build on the momentum from Sochi.
“We travel to Austin full of energy and optimism following Checo's fantastic podium - the car was strong, our strategy was good, and Checo didn't put a wheel wrong. You could see from our post-race celebrations just how much the result meant to everyone in the team and it's a welcome reward for everybody's hard work this year. It's very satisfying to get some more silverware for our trophy cabinet at Silverstone.”
The podium has further encouraged Mallya ahead of next season, when an unchanged line-up will spearhead a push for even better results.
“Over the winter, I said that the target was to achieve podiums in 2015,” the Indian reflected, That may have seemed like an over-optimistic objective but, ever since the introduction of the B-spec car, I knew that we had the potential to do something special. We may have had a little good fortune in Sochi, but I believe you make your own luck and we worked hard to seize the opportunity and bring the result home.
“There is a lot of positive energy in the team at the moment. We've confirmed both Nico and Sergio for next year and that continuity is important for us. They are very closely matched and they push each other hard. I believe that having healthy competition within the team is a good thing and will help drive the team even further forward.”