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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Image © Force India

25 comments on “Mallya hails Force India’s ‘best start to a season’”

  1. The first race hardly matters Vijay, its only a half points race.

    1. @udm7 Are you gonna keep saying that for the next 17 races?

      1. @rojov123 Yes he is. Except for the last race, when he’ll say it twice.

  2. The strongest point Force India have is ability to understand some things faster than bigger teams. Because they don’t have resources to develop their cars as fast as Ferrari, Red Bull or Mclaren. But I hoped FI would be a bit stronger at the beggining of the season and will be able to score at least one podium. I hope Malaysia will be even more successful for them.

    1. I do not know how much of that holds water, but sure FI is a budget capped team and are trying to get the best of what they can have. I am sure not happy how they ended up, and of course the competition is not going to sit idle so they have to come up tops. They have to get their strategy right – last season most of the times they did get it spot on. With lack of top speed to be at the stop, Strategy plays a big role in getting them close to podium.

  3. I think that last year was a much start for Force India as they proved they were the best of the midfield and were good with the tyres. And Adrian Sutil was leading the race for 13 laps and finished 7th while Di Resta finished 8th. That’s 10 points, compared to 9 points this year, and those 9 points were after Ricciardo’s penalty. And to be honest, it is a worse start that was expected after Pre-season Testing too so I’m pretty sure last year was better!

  4. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    24th March 2014, 11:29

    And there was me thinking they looked bog slow compared to Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari, Williams, McLaren and Toro Rosso even… At least the have the Hulk…

    1. @william-brierty I would not be too concerned about their current speed, it may be a matter of setup. They can catch up the front while others will still be trying to finish the races. Being slower than Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull seems normal to me, should be for McLaren too, given the budget differences. And they have the Hulk, I expect them to lead the midfield :)

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        25th March 2014, 20:12

        @spoutnik – Yes, but owing to the fact that they had relatively good reliability in testing they spent more of the time optimizing the car and finding its sweet spot. Certainly their 2014 programme is more mature than Red Bull, Ferrari and Toro Rosso, who all looked faster, and furthermore the pace that the Williams of Bottas showed proved that “the midfield” can infiltrate the top placings in 2014, so I think Melbourne will be quite worrying for the Force. Still, at least they have the Hulk…

    2. indeed. Apart from making it to the flag with both cars, I would say that the team was surprised by how far down the field they were on pace rather than satisfied with where they are.

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        25th March 2014, 20:14

        …which therefore probably explains this statement, in the BS world of modern F1 @bascb

    3. FI will drop off the team standings once Lotus gets over their engine issues. Mercedes, Williams, Mclaren, Ferrari, Redbull and Lotus will be ahead of FI in development in a month’s time. So, to get a podium, one of the Force India drivers will have to defeat atleast 10 faster cars in pure pace.. Now, that is nothing more than a fool’s hope.
      I assume they will be 7th in the constructors standings at the end of the season.

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        25th March 2014, 20:17

        @rojov123 – I think they will stay ahead of Lotus, but of the evidence of Melbourne the Force looks set for a season long battle STR. Still, at least they have the Hulk…

    4. Yes, I thought their start last year was more competitive. Melbourne reminded me of Hulkenberg’s races in the Sauber, pushing a car into places it didn’t deserve to be. And no idea if Alonso was pushing him or just cruising round waiting for the stops, thanks to a complete lack of any team radio from either of them!

  5. I was actually a little disappointed by their form. After pre-season testing, it looked as if they might not be too far off the front, but in Australia it looked like Mercedes, Williams, McLaren, Ferrari and Red Bull were all faster – which means they will be scraping to get into the points on ‘normal occasions’.

    1. Those teams where all faster (discounting DR disqualification) on the day. I too thought they’d be quicker, but that’s because i thought RedBull & Ferrari would be slower.
      My perceived Mercedes powered Peking order = Mercedes, Mclaren/Williams, Force India.

  6. They did better than the other midfield teams, Sauber and Toro Rosso, and they even did better than Red Bull and Lotus. Vijay Mallya has reasons to be happy. He’s got the Hulk, he’s got the Mercedes engine, and both drivers came back in the points which puts the team in fifth position in the WCC. That could indeed have been much worse for a start!

    1. Being 5th in the standings at the first race is nothing to be proud of. Especially considering they are in 5th only because of being powered by Mercedes. They will be 7th at the end of the season with around 70 – 80 points. (oh, and with no podiums)

  7. Btw, love those catchy cow-style glasses, Vijay!

  8. I don’t agree, I think they are masked by the Mercedes powerunit advantage.

    1. They do seem slowest of the Mercedes Powered Cars.
      I bet Tony Fernandes wishes his was the slowest Mercedes Powered team!

  9. Actually they are clearly behind Merc , RBR (if they finish),Ferrari,Mclaren and crucially Williams . I look at that being slower than I expected . Hoping the Hulk and some updates can get them beyond a top ten finish .

  10. The problem with Force India is that they have 30% more cooling than needed. The car will get slimmer after spain & car will gain 1 sec

  11. they had a good start to the year last season aswell and look what happened after the summer break.

  12. I´m pretty happy for them. They have certainly come a long way! They would have done good last season too if it wasn´t for some other team whining about the tyres…

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