OPTIMISTIC: Vijay Mallya is ready for the first flag of the 2016 F1 season
OPTIMISTIC: Vijay Mallya is ready for the first flag of the 2016 F1 season

With less than one month to go until the biggest names in racing return to the track for the start of the 2016 Formula One campaign, Force India co-owner, Vijay Mallya, says he has high hopes for the year ahead.

Drivers line up for the first race on Sunday 20th March as they take on the Australian Grand Prix.

A slow start to last year’s race calendar resulted in a final fifth spot finish in the constructor’s standings, and this year Vijay says fourth ‘could’ be a possibility.

Speaking about his delight at keeping teammates, Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, he said: “I’m very happy with my drivers.

“They both fit well with our approach and racing philosophy, and they enjoy racing here.

“We treat our drivers equally; we give them freedom to be themselves, and I think this environment brings out the best from both of them.

“Having two quick drivers has always been our philosophy because it creates healthy competition within the team, which helps to drive us forward. I expect more of the same in 2016.”

With one podium finish and three top five positions in the final eight races in 2015, it was a season to remember for all involved with Force India.

Vijay says he hopes this momentum can be carried onto the next campaign.

“I’m always wary of making bold predictions so early in the season, but I’m optimistic we can stay at the front of the midfield battle,” he said.

“If you look at the second half of last year, after the summer break, we outscored Red Bull Racing by six points and were only nine points behind Williams – so we’ve got to begin the new season with those teams firmly in our sights.”