Force India team principal Vijay Mallya has admitted he expected more from the team over the opening rounds of the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship after failing to capitalise on its 'inherently quick car'.
On the back of its best-ever F1 showing in 2015 with a run to fifth in the constructors' standings, hopes were high that Force India could mount a challenge for the podium from the opening events, but it has managed a best finish of just seventh.
Despite this, Mallya remains convinced Force India's VJM09 is a quick car that hasn't shown its full potential in the hands of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg and that there is plenty of time for it to turn things around, much like it did last year.
“In all honesty we expected more from the start of the season, but for various reasons the cards have not fallen for us,” he said. “It's worth making a comparison with 2015 because after three races last year we were in a similar position with seven points - one point more than we have this year - and that turned out to be our most successful season ever. With eighteen races to go there is a long season ahead and we have plenty of opportunities to turn around our fortunes.”
“There is no doubt that we have an inherently quick car. We've always qualified inside the top ten and Checo lined up seventh on the grid in China. In the race we fell a bit short, so that is one area where we can improve.
Speaking ahead of the Russian Grand Prix, Mallya says Force India is pinning hopes on a planned upgrade to come from the following round in Spain which he hopes will result in a step forward.
“We are also working hard to bring an upgrade package to Barcelona: it's an aero step and further suspension evolutions, which will bring some performance gains.”