(Sahara Force India Formula One Team)
The Sahara Force India Formula One Team had a disappointing Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai Circuit on Sunday as neither Sergio ‘Checco’ Perez nor Nico Hulkenberg were able to finish the race in the points.
The pair started the race from 15th and 16th place respectively and struggled during the race. Hulkenberg eventually retired from the race with what the team suspect was a possible gearbox failure. Speaking following the race, the German stated:
‘It is disappointing to end the race early, especially considering our previous record of solid reliability. It would have been interesting to see how our race would have developed because I made some good progress on the opening lap when I went around the outside of a few cars and then got a good run at Kvyat, which put me up in P12. We had the pace to keep up with the Toro Rossos and Saubers, so it was positive to see our pace being more competitive. It is still too early to say what caused my retirement: the engineers are looking at the issue and still investigating. All we know at this stage is that I lost drive and had to park the car.’
While Hulkenberg was forced to retire from the race, Sergio ‘Checco’ Perez managed to complete the race distance and came home in eleventh place just missing out on a points scoring position and with the Lotus F1 Team getting six points on the board Force India are now just one point ahead of the Enstone based outfit in seventh place in the championship.
Speaking following the race Perez commented by saying:
‘We raced very hard today, but in the end it wasn’t quite enough to come away with some points. With the strategy we looked at all the opportunities and switched to three stops quite early in the race, which was the right decision. I was able to push hard all the time with the aggressive strategy and fight with the cars ahead of me. In the final part of the race I was catching Ericsson, but he was just too far ahead to make up the ground. We are still not where we want to be in terms of competitiveness, but there are definitely some positives to take because we made an improvement compared to our performance in Malaysia.’
The Silverstone based outfit now head to the Bahrain night race next weekend, the venue where last season Sergio ‘Checco’ Perez took the team’s first podium since the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix when he finished the race in third place behind the Mercedes duo.
It is unlikely however that the team will see a repeat of this result next weekend as they await the arrival of their revised VJM08 which is expected to make its track debut at the Austrian Grand Prix later this season. Speaking following the Chinese Grand Prix, Sahara Force India Deputy Team Principal Robert Fernley stated:
‘We leave China with mixed feelings after a busy race. Sergio performed really well and was unlucky not to see his performance rewarded with a point. He was in a number of battles and was able to compete on more or less an equal footing with some of our direct rivals, which offers an encouraging view for the coming races. It was a shame to lose Nico due to a technical issue, especially as he had made very good progress in the first part of the race. Like Sergio, he was showing some really good pace and it would have been interesting to see where he would have finished had he continued. Throughout the weekend, there have been some encouraging signs regarding our performance and we can build on these as the development of the VJM08 continues.’
© Ben Johnston 2015