The Force India team is optimistic that this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix will see its fortunes turn around as it looks to reclaim fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship standings.
Despite claiming its seventh double points’ finish of the season – Sergio Pérez finished eighth; Nico Hülkenberg was tenth – the result wasn’t enough to see it keep McLaren at bay from claiming its fifth place, even with the post-race time penalty that was handed out to the rival outfit’s rookie, Kevin Magnussen. The Silverstone team trails McLaren by two points in the standings, with seven races remaining in the season.
However, both its drivers are confident that a Monza-specific aerodynamic package designed for its VJM07 – coupled with the superior grunt of its Mercedes V6 turbo engine – could bring the team back into contention for a strong result around the high-speed circuit.
The team’s best result at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza came in 2009 where Adrian Sutil (pictured) achieved a front-row start and went on to finish fourth, setting the fastest lap along the way.
“I expect us to be quite competitive there,” Hülkenberg, who finished fifth at Monza last year when driving for Sauber, said.
“It should be better for us than at Spa-Francorchamps. It’s all about power and top speed here and we know the engine will be strong. We also have a new low downforce rear wing that we will use for Monza only.
“The atmosphere is just brilliant with the energy of the fans and the history of the place. It’s also a fun track to drive. It looks simple, but hooking up a quick lap is still a challenge and it’s easy to make mistakes.
Of the driver pairing, Pérez has the better results, with a fine drive to third in 2012 when he too drove for Sauber.
“It’s another favourite of mine. It was one of my best races in Formula One and a very special memory,” the Mexican recalled.
“I think it’s going to be a good track for us [this weekend],” he added. “It’s important to qualify in the top 10 to have a chance of scoring good points. It’s difficult to overtake at Monza and if you are out of position it’s hard to recover.”
Team principal Vijay Mallya was typically bullish about the team’s prospects at a circuit where the Force Indias have historically gone well.
“We’re now sixth in the standings and coming away from Spa with five points was a good exercise in damage limitation. It means we are only two points away from fifth place with all to play for in the coming races,” he said.
“The Italian Grand Prix is always a great event and this circuit is legendary. It is also one that should suit our car, with long straights and an emphasis on power. Both Checo and Nico have had good results here in the past and will hopefully do the same this year.”
Images via XPB Images