Sahara Force India F1 team founder Vijay Mallya is confident that his team can once again repeat its historic run of good results at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.
The Silverstone team has claimed five points’ finishes in the event’s six-year history – its best result was Paul di Resta’s late charge to fourth place in 2012 – and, having closed the gap to fifth-placed McLaren in the Constructors’ Championship last time out in Italy, there’s all to play for once again.
“I’m cautiously optimistic,” he said, when asked about his expectations ahead of the race around the Marina Bay Circuit.
“This year we’ve delivered a car that has worked on all tracks so we don’t have any concerns about Singapore. The warm temperatures and softer tyre compounds should also work in our favour. We’ve been working hard to bring some performance to the car as well, which should help us for the rest of the season.
Sergio Pérez’s seventh-placed finish at Monza brought the team to within one point of McLaren in their dogfight for fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship, and there’s every reason to believe that the team could snatch back the spot it recently lost to the former champions.
“We are not giving up. We are enjoying the fight and the close competition. Fifth place is just one point away so there is all to play for. For a team like ours to be where we are, fighting with teams that have won races and championships, shows how far we have come. I’m very proud.”
Mallya heaped praise on Pérez’s driving last time out, and gave every indication that it was this kind of form that could see the Mexican’s one-year contract with the team extended.
“We saw some outstanding racing in Monza and I really enjoyed myself. I was more a fan than a Team Principal on the pit wall because I’m basically a racer. I loved that battle between Checo and Jenson; it was great action and I think they both played it fair,” he said.
“As for Nico [Hülkenberg], it was always going to be difficult starting further back, especially considering that everybody was on a one-stop strategy. There was also some damage to the floor of his car, which impacted on the aero performance, so I guess it was not his day,” he said of the German, who finished twelfth.
Image via XPB Images