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Force India focused on Monaco double
20 May 2013
Sahara Force India team principal Vijay Mallya says he hopes to see both of his drivers challenge for points when F1 heads for Monaco this weekend of the sixth race of the season.
The Silverstone-based squad has enjoyed an encouraging start to the 2013 campaign to sit fifth in the championship standings, with Paul di Resta eighth in the drivers' championship having scored in four of the five races run so far.
However, with Adrian Sutil only scoring points in Australia after a run of misfortune, the team has only managed to bring both cars home in the top ten on one occasion.
Heading into the Monte Carlo race, Mallya said the team aimed to build on its strong results to date both this season and in Monaco in the past to strengthen its championship position – but admitted that getting both cars into the top ten was crucial.
“As a venue, Monaco is one of my favourites and a track where our car has always worked well,” he said. “We've scored points there for the last three seasons and will be aiming to do the same this year.
“In our first European race, two weeks ago in Barcelona, the team once again showed its form. A strong points finish by Paul Di Resta ensured we held on to fifth position in the World Championship, and we look capable of fighting at this level in the races to come. With a little help from Lady Luck, who hasn't been much on Adrian Sutil's side lately, we will be able to score points with both cars and firmly establish our position in the championship.
“So far our weakness has been failing to get both cars home in the points and it's something we need to remedy.”
Having been the team leader thus far in terms of results, di Resta insisted that scoring well again in Monaco was the only aim for the weekend ahead as the team seeks to maintain its current position ahead of McLaren in the standings.
“Having more time to optimise the car with the upgrades should allow us to extract even more performance from it,” he said. “Monaco was a rewarding race for us last year and we will try to go there and continue our run of points finishes.
“McLaren is a strong team and they will keep improving, but in the races so far we have been fighting them and we've often been quicker. Realistically, though, we are doing a great job regularly beating our direct rivals – Sauber, Williams and Toro Rosso. Our strength has been our consistency – we have been performing well in each of the races so far, and we are now looking forward to the Sundays with confidence.”
Team-mate Sutil meanwhile said he was confident of turning his fortunes around, with the current Force India machine being the 'best car he has driven' in his F1 career to date.
“Wherever we have gone so far the car has looked competitive – and that includes some very different tracks,” he said. “It's a good sign for the rest of the season. Of course, Monaco will be the first real street circuit, but I think we will be quick there. The car is very strong in the front with a very neutral balance so it's very driveable.
“Despite everything that has happened during the last four races, I remain positive. Most of the things that happened were out of my control, but still I believe we can improve certain things to avoid mistakes in the future. We as a team have to stay confident and work on solving these small problems. The car is fast and if we have a perfect weekend, which is our aim all the time, I'm sure the podium will come soon.”
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