Force India F1's chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne has underlined how important it will be for the Silverstone-based minnow to get its head around the new-for-2009 rulebook if it is to continue to make up ground on those teams ahead of it.

Gascoyne is the first to admit that the squad's past few years in Formula One have left it struggling to match its rivals - both on the track and in terms of investment - but is confident that Vijay Mallya's stewardship is now pointing it in the right direction.

"Obviously, we are the smallest team in F1, a team that, in the last couple of years in its Jordan guise, suffered from no real investment," he pointed out, "Then, under Midland and Spyker, it didn't go anywhere, there weren't proper budgets and the team could not really develop.

"But, over the last six months as Force India, we have put in place proper budgets. They are still very small budgets compared to all our competitors, but that has allowed us to expand, improve and bring some new people on board - and we will continue with that for next year. We have inherited a performance deficit from Spyker and Midland and, although we are catching that up, F1, I think, is perhaps at the most competitive it's ever been, certainly in the 20 years I have been in it. Although we have improved hugely compared to our competitors, and we are regularly within a couple of seconds of the quickest car, that still means we are the team rooted at the back. That is very good for F1, but that makes our life pretty difficult."

Gascoyne is confident, however, that getting the right interpretation of the new rules in place for next season could have a dramatic effect on the team's potential, although he also acknowledges that there is a thin line between success and failure.

"Obviously, for next year, it is a level playing field," he noted, "but there are two schools of thought [with that]. In F1 over the last three years, we have had rule stability and it has become very close. There is an argument that everyone starts from a level playing field, so it is an opportunity, but it could mean also that some people will get it more right than others.

"We do have good resources, especially in key areas like aerodynamics, where we can match the opposition, and we see it as a real opportunity for us. But [the new rules] could also move the field apart, so we just have to make sure that we are one of the ones that get it right."


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