(Sahara Force India Formula One Team)
The Sahara Force India Formula One Team head to this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix having scored point's in every Grand Prix so far this season and as a result the Silverstone based outfit are currently in fourth place in the Constructors championship on 77 point's just ten behind third placed Ferrari. The team showed that they had incredible pace at the last race in Montreal as both Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg were challenging at the front of the field for the whole race and Perez came close to scoring his second podium of the season however the Mexican retired from the race on the final lap of the race.
Speaking ahead of the race in Austria, team boss Dr Vijay Mallya was full of phrase for Nico Hulkenberg who scored his fourth fifth place finish of the season in Montreal. When asked about the result in Montreal he said:
'Let’s not forget that Nico drove a brilliant race to score another ten points, but up until the last lap it looked like being an even sweeter result with both cars very well placed. Sadly it was not meant to be. The car, the team and the drivers performed admirably throughout the whole weekend. The VJM07 was very competitive; we got all the strategy calls right and we were on course for one of our best ever results. The accident for Sergio on the last lap took that away from us, but we should not forget the positives: our tyre management was excellent and we were able to race at the front and challenge for the win. It was one of our strongest races.'
Mallya also spoke of his pride in the team after they scored their seventh consecutive point's finish this season and is happy that they are helping to reshuffle the order this year by saying:
'I am very proud of what the team has achieved so far, but by no means are we going to ease off at this point. The development race is not going to stop: we are working hard to bring updates to the car and give our drivers an even better chance to score big results. Of course, we have shown a good level of consistency, being able to score in every race so far, and we want to continue to be able to ruffle a few feathers in the top spots.'
Formula One will, for the first time since 2003 return to Austria this weekend to the redeveloped and renamed Red Bull Ring. The circuit looks extremely interesting and features many elevation changes and this is going to make for an extremely interesting Grand Prix and Mallya is excited to be returning to the Austria saying:
'The last time Formula One raced there, the cars were very different from what they are now so it is difficult to predict how the pecking order will be. We don't expect massive surprises, however - cars that have been competitive so far will retain their advantage. The track layout seems likely to be favourable to the characteristics of the VJM07, but the competitive order is very tight and we will need to be performing at our best to come away with a good result.'
Nico Hulkenberg once again showed how consistent he has been this season by putting in another great race for the Silverstone based outfit and said:
'Yes, we have shown once more to be both competitive and consistent, and to come away with ten points after a very busy race was really positive. I was on a different strategy from everyone else, which meant I was under pressure for most of the afternoon, but I think we were on the fastest strategy for us, even if the early safety car didn't really help. But everything worked as planned and we came away with a very strong result.
Hulkenberg was asked if he feels that the trend of scoring point's will continue for the foreseeable future to which the German replied:
'We are in a very good position to keep scoring points, but we will need to keep our guard up and keep working hard as we did from the start. There will be tracks where we will be stronger and where we can capitalise on the opportunities we have, and tracks that will be more of a challenge. I know what plans the team has for the rest of the season and I see no reason why we cannot keep battling at the level we are at now.'
The Hulk was also asked what the team can expect from this weekend's Grand Prix as it is a new event for the majority of the driver's and indeed some of the team's on the grid including the Sahara Force India F1 Team. He said:
'Together with Russia, this race is one of the big question marks for everyone this year. The track has some long straights and a few slow corners that should suit us, and we can count on making the most of softer compounds as we did in Canada. When you go to a new track it’s even more important to maximise the practice sessions because there is so much more to learn. The lap is quite short so the gaps between the cars will be minimal and even small mistakes can make a big difference.'
Sergio Perez will also experience the Austrian circuit for the first time this weekend. The Mexican is excited to visit the track for the first time but is not sure what to expect from circuit:
'I don’t really know what to expect because it’s my first visit to the track, but I’m really looking forward to going there. It’s a circuit that not many people know and so it can give you an opportunity to find a small advantage. You have to learn fast and be ready to adapt. A new circuit is always a bit more of a challenge, but it’s interesting and I like the look of the track layout.'
Pirelli will bring the soft compound tyre to the Red Bull Ring and Perez is very happy about this saying:
'I’m happy to see these tyres being used and I think it’s the right decision. I also think the layout of the track will work well for our car. Hopefully we will have the opportunity for another strong performance there.'
Despite having never raced in Formula One on the Red Bull Ring, Perez has been to Austria before and is looking forward to going back there:
'Yes, I have been there a couple of times. It is a beautiful country; the people are nice and it’s full of amazing scenery – especially the mountains. It’s also a great place to ski and its Formula One heritage is impressive.'
© Ben Johnston 2014