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F1 Australian GP: Mallya: No major shocks in Oz

Vijay Mallya expects his Sahara Force India F1 team to be contending for Q3 and points from the first round of the 2016 season, in Australia, this weekend.

Sahara Force India team principal Vijay Mallya says he does not expect the winter break to have thrown the F1 pecking order into disarray - which means he is targeting immediate points for his drivers.

Having boosted its 2015 fortunes with the introduction of a B-spec VJM08, Force India has continued that theme with an evolutionary VJM09, and the car has already performed solidly in pre-season testing, sitting second on the 'adjusted' timesheets thanks to a rapid showing from Nico Hulkenberg in Barcelona. Mallya, however, is under no illusion that his squad is now a Ferrari-beater and Mercedes-worrier, and expects normal service to be resumed at round one of the 2016 season in Australia.

“I don't think there will be any major shocks in Melbourne," he confirmed, "The general status quo from the second half of last year appears to have been maintained. I think it will vary from track to track, as always, but, on the whole, I think we can pick up where we ended last year.”

Force India, of course, finished fifth in the 2015 constructors' standings, coming out on top of a battle with Lotus (now Renault) and Toro Rosso, and ahead of more illustrious opposition in McLaren, and Mallya is confident that the Silverstone-based team can pick up where it left off after pre-season testing gave it a good base to build on.

“The introduction of the VJM09 has been very smooth," he reported, "The team has done an excellent job over the winter and testing has gone largely to plan. We've covered just shy of 4,000km and the car has shown good reliability. It means we can head to Melbourne feeling pretty comfortable with the work we've done and our understanding of the new car.

“Melbourne can always throw up some surprises and unpredictability, but I'd like to see us get some points and start the season as we mean to go on. We want to be qualifying and racing inside the top ten from race one.”



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 Team VJM09
23.05.2015- Vijay Mallya (IND) Sahara Force India F1 Team Owner
Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 VJM09 leaves the pits. 03.03.2016.
30.09.2016 - Free Practice 2, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team VF-16
30.09.2016 - Free Practice 2, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM09
30.09.2016 - Free Practice 2, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
30.09.2016 - Free Practice 2, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
30.09.2016 - Free Practice 2, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
30.09.2016 - Free Practice 2, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
30.09.2016 - Free Practice 2, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM09
30.09.2016 - Free Practice 2, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team VF-16
30.09.2016 - Free Practice 2, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
30.09.2016 - Free Practice 2, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
30.09.2016 - Free Practice 2, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
30.09.2016 - Free Practice 2, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
30.09.2016 - Free Practice 2, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
30.09.2016 - Free Practice 2, Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Haas F1 Team VF-16
30.09.2016 - Free Practice 2, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid

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