Vijay Mallya has tipped his Force India team to notch up more podiums over the course of the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship season after Sergio Perez claimed a second rostrum in three races in Azerbaijan.
The most competitive race weekend of the year for Force India, Perez qualified initially on the front row but would be forced to start from seventh after a gearbox change penalty, which he was handed as a result of a costly crash in FP3.
Nevertheless, Perez would fight back to third place, adding to his and the team's podium success in Monaco just a month earlier.
A big boost in points for the team after a difficult start to the season, with the revised VJM09 – introduced in Spain – showing impressive gains in recent races, though Force India is set to begin turning its attentions to 2017 with its new technical regulations, Mallya is sure Baku won't be the only event it secures a top three race result in 2016.
“Seeing our team on the podium for the second time in less than a month makes me incredibly proud. The result in Baku was achieved completely on merit and everybody in the team deserves credit for helping make these results possible. We are experiencing the best run of form in the team's history and we are enjoying the moment.
“There has been a lot of talk about the team switching focus to 2017, but this doesn't mean we won't be strong for the rest of 2016. There is a lot of performance still to be extracted from our current package and I am confident we can put on a good show in the races to come. Having scored two podiums in three races, we've got a taste for success and I would like to see us pick up more silverware before the end of the year.
“The races come thick and fast during July with four races in the space of a month. The next race in Austria is a venue we enjoy and we expect to be competitive once again. It's a great moment for the team and there is a special atmosphere back at our Silverstone base. We've shown that we can give the leading teams a run for their money and that's a huge motivation for everyone at Force India.”
Such has been Force India's performance gains in recent races, it has amassed 45 of its current 59 points in the last three events, while it has pulled 27 points clear of Toro Rosso in the fight for fifth in the constructors' standings.