Vijay Mallya, Force India, Albert Park, 2014

Mallya hails Force India’s ‘best start to a season’

2014 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Vijay Mallya, Force India, Albert Park, 2014Force India team principal Vijay Mallya praised his team’s double points score in the first race of the season as their best start to an F1 campaign.

“Australia was definitely a respectable start, without a doubt, and probably the best start we’ve had since I took over the team,” said Mallya.

“We went into the race feeling good and confident. We were concerned initially about reliability, but I think the number of laps we were able to put in during Bahrain testing gave us the confidence that we were on top most issues. The fact that both the cars finished the race is a good way to start the season.”

Sixth place for Nico Hulkenberg was the highest finish Force India have achieved in the first race of the season. Tenth place for Sergio Perez means the team have one point less than after the first race of last season.

Mallya believes their Australian Grand Prix result could have been ever better. “I dare say Checo would have been higher up had he not had a first lap puncture,” he added.

Perez was hit by Esteban Gutierrez on the first lap of the race and suffered a puncture. “The fact that he finished where he did after three stops speaks for itself,” said Mallya.

He added the team have made strong progress in understanding the complicating new 2014 cars:

“Whenever I spoke with the engineering team over the winter, it became clear the biggest unknown was the complexity of the car and consequently the reliability.

“It wasn’t as if the designers and engineers were working with a familiar car that they already knew how to upgrade and tweak. Here everything was new. For example, nobody really knew what cooling was required and optimising that was a major job during testing.

“I think we have gone up the learning curve successfully and we have a good understanding of the car and all the new technology that’s gone into it.”

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