Force India wary of Sauber threat

2013 Indian Grand Prix

Paul di Resta, Force India, Korea International Circuit, 2013Force India co-owner Vijay Mallya expects a “real fight” with Sauber who are putting their sixth place in the constructors’ championship under pressure.

Sauber have closed to within 17 points of their rivals with four races remaining. Mallya said their rivals “have been doing a very good job lately”.

“They are the in-form team at the moment and they have been taking all the opportunities that were presented to them.

“It’s going to be a real fight in these last four races: we need to make a step forward to hold them off, because they can qualify well and they have strong race pace as well.”

Force India have only scored a single point in the last four races while Sauber have amassed 38. “The races after the summer break haven’t been very positive in terms of scoring points,” Mallya admitted, “but the morale in the team remains strong”.

“Korea and Japan were not the easiest of weekends, but everyone in the team is working really hard to recapture our early form. It’s all a matter of finding the right balance with the car – when we do that, we will be back in the points.”

This weekend is the home event for the Indian-owned team. “Our home race is always a very proud weekend for everyone in the team: the atmosphere at the track is incredible and we always enjoy plenty of support,” said Mallya.

“The track itself is one of the best in the world. It’s also a good one for us – in the last two years we scored points in both races, so a similar result would be a good target for the team.”

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17 comments on Force India wary of Sauber threat

  1. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 21st October 2013, 11:03

    Well, they best improve their car, otherwise Di Resta’s gonna be doing an awful lot more DNF’ing.

  2. James (@jamesf1) said on 21st October 2013, 11:09

    I wouldn’t call it a fight Vijay, because in that situation Force India would be knocked out in the 5th round. I seriously doubt that Force India can hold off Sauber. The upgrades on the car have worked, the tyre changes have favoured them to a degree, and both Nico and Esteban have hit form at a critical time in the season.

    • spoutnik (@spoutnik) said on 21st October 2013, 12:19

      @jamesf1 I hope the best for Gutierrez but it is maybe a bit early to call it good form for him. Let’s see this weekend if he can keep the momentum or if it is only a flash :).

      • @spoutnik he was good in Singapore too: only a poor first lap or two really cost him there!

      • James (@jamesf1) said on 21st October 2013, 22:23

        He’s been a different driver since the Italian GP. He’s finally got a grip on the sport it would seem. Some fairly good qualifying appearances and two relatively respectful performances in Korea and Japan.

        In previous years he might have benefited from in-season testing, but considering his lack of F1 running before this year, I think he’s doing a good job at the moment.

      • aquataz said on 22nd October 2013, 7:56

        Since the summer break he’s more relaxed in both Q and R. His moves are more assertive, generally fair (yeah and generally green, too). I think he can make this good streak last.

  3. MilleniumBug (@milleniumbug) said on 21st October 2013, 11:27

    Great picture once again @keithcollantine

  4. kcarrey (@kcarrey) said on 21st October 2013, 12:16

    Force India wary of customer car threat

  5. Tango (@tango) said on 21st October 2013, 13:32

    It’s more a case of how much Sauber can capitalise on their new form for the four next races and get every possible point they can rather than a “race to the finish”, except maybe in case of an attrition race, I can’t see Force India giving much of a fight here.

  6. Its absolutely ridiculous that Force India have only scored a single point in the last four races! I understand that the tyre changes after silverstone have impacted some of the teams but to such a degree was unexpected. Its like they are slower than the Marussias!!

    • Nick Jarvis (@nickj95gb) said on 21st October 2013, 16:38

      They finished the development on their car really early this year, they’ll probably be the same in 2014 – fast-ish at the start, and blur into depressing mediocrity towards the end.

      • “depressing mediocrity” is the perfectly right term to describe their performance every year bar 2012. I think they need to balance out their development program so as to not miss out in the points towards the end of the season. Its seems they are racing the first half of every year on performance and the second half on luck!

  7. thetobs (@thetobs) said on 21st October 2013, 18:01

    I don’t think that Force India will score another point this year unless there a lot of retirements or they change something that suddenly makes there car faster. Sauber should move ahead if they keep up there current form.

  8. Sauber scored 10, 2, 12 and 14 points respectively in the last four rounds. That works out at an average of 9.5/race.

    Force India in that same period have scored one point: a measly 0.25/race.

    So at this rate, Sauber are out scoring Force India by 9.25 points/race, which projected over the next four races would equate to 37 points. Since the current gap sits at 17 points, Sauber would finish the season 20 points ahead at the calculate average rate.

    McLaren have scored 18 points in that same period, an average of 4.5/race – so Sauber of course would be out scoring them by 5 points/race at the calculated rate. That of course equates to 20 points over the course of the remaining races – 18 short of what they need (interestingly Sauber have a greater number of superior race results: HĂĽlkenberg’s 4th in Korea goes unmatched by McLaren, showing just how torrid a season they are having!). So judging by that, McLaren look fairly comfortable in 5th.

    However, there is a potential curveball in the mix with HĂĽlkenberg’s performances in Brazil: pole of course in 2010, and the collision whilst challenging for the lead in 2012. Along with Gutierrez’s apparent improved form, could Sauber cause a major upset and beat McLaren to 5th place? It is unlikely judging from the bare statistics, but I’m not ruling it out having analysed the data.

    • A pretty tall order, kind of like Warwick Davis being told to cut Usain Bolt’s hair… I bet they’re pretty long odds – 10 to 1 at least. Don’t forget that McLaren would pretty much have to fold and not score anything. I think they will do better than 4.5 avg over the last 4 races, providing SP has come out of the doldrums.

  9. TallMike said on 22nd October 2013, 13:46

    Everybody though Nico was crazy to leave a team on the rise Force India for Sauber. I think Nico will have the last laugh.

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