Tag Archive: Force India

Time to go, Nico!

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FAREWELL: Nico Hulkenberg will race for Renault next year as Sergio Perez prepares to welcome new partner

FAREWELL: Nico Hulkenberg will race for Renault next year as Sergio Perez prepares to welcome new partner

Hulkenberg targets success stories as he joins Renault

After back-to-back record breaking seasons, Force India’s team of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez is splitting with the prior, jumping ship to join Renault.

The 29-year-old German has enjoyed three years with the constructors, helping to steer them up the  table from sixth to a current fourth place position.

With just two races to go, speculation as to who will replace Hulkenberg next year has already begun, with 22-year-old Manor driver, Pascal Wehrlein, amongst the favourites.

With only one point to his name throughout his Formula One career, it may be a risky move in some people’s eyes, yet the young German has been singled out previously by both Mercedes and Force India for test driving.

Force India’s deputy principal, Bob Fernley, said: “It’s (co-owner and principal) Vijay (Mallya)’s decision and we’ll start those discussions probably when we get back next week.

“I think we’ll take our time, have a look at what offers are on the table, Vijay will make his decision and then we’ll announce it.”

Pressed further, he said it could be ‘next week or the week after or even the week after that’.

In a statement released upon joining Renault, Hulkenberg said he was excited to be joining a full works outfit in Formula One.

He said: “I’m very happy to join Renault Sport Formula 1 Team in 2017. Renault has always been a big player in the motorsport world that brings up incredible memories: in his stint with Renault, Michael Schumacher not only helped make Germany an F1 nation, he also sparked my enthusiasm and fire for racing.

“As a part of the Renault family, I want to develop the car and write new success stories.

“It has always been my dream to work for a manufacturer team. F1’s new regulations will change the game and give our team a good opportunity. In the years to come, Renault will play a challenger role, which fits my approach to racing 100 per cent. I can’t wait to become part of the family.”

On his experience of driving for Force India, he added: “For the remaining races this year, I will give my best for Force India to reach fourth place in the constructors’ championship. This would be a great achievement for the whole Force India team, the biggest success in its history and a great end to a fantastic time there.

“I am grateful that Force India has given me the chance to take up this new opportunity.”

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Record result: Force India flying in Silverstone

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WEATHER WARNING: Drivers had to tackle all conditions in the typically British weather seen at Silverstone

WEATHER WARNING: Drivers had to tackle all conditions in the typically British weather seen at Silverstone

Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg’s recent outing at Silverstone was not only notable for their almost simultaneous finish but their record breaking points amassed at the British Grand Prix.

The 14 points they registered for Force India is higher than any previous attempt and shows how far the team has progressed in recent campaigns.

Perez, who is enjoying a great 2016 season, eventually finished the race in sixth spot, with German Hulkenberg just one place behind.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - British Grand Prix - Race Day - Silverstone, EnglandPutting the success down to making the ‘right calls at the right time’ Perez said: “It’s a very good result for the team, with two cars in the points, even if I feel I could have kept fifth place without that spin at turn one.

“When I had that moment I thought my race was over, but I managed to save it. However, I flat-spotted my tyres and that hurt me for the rest of the race in terms of degradation.

“I pushed hard to try and keep Raikkonen behind, and it was only when he passed me that I was able to take it easy and save the tyres.

“We had to do a very long stint on the mediums, which was a bit of a risk as degradation was quite high, but the team made the right calls at the right time and it paid off in the end.”

A disappointed Hulkenberg believes he should have finished further up the field yet was ultimately the victim of bad luck.

“Obviously a good result for the team, but I still feel a bit frustrated with how the race unfolded because things didn’t work in my favour today,” he added.

“I really lost out under the virtual safety car, which allowed a lot of cars to jump me when I had already made the switch to intermediates. Then, I was stuck behind Felipe [Massa] for so many laps, even though I was a lot quicker than him.

There was only a narrow dry line with a lot of standing water offline so it wasn’t easy to make a move.”

He added: “Although I’m not totally happy, I am pleased with the car performance and the fact that we scored good points today.”

Next up for drivers is the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday 24th July – one of only two races from the 2015 calendar which Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton failed to secure podium finishes in.

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Optimism following disappointment

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DRIVING FORCE: Team Principal, Dr Vijay Mallya, says he is looking forward to the British Grand Prix

DRIVING FORCE: Team Principal, Dr Vijay Mallya, says he is looking forward to the British Grand Prix

Force India leave empty handed from Austria

Force India’s run of back-to-back podium finishes came to an abrupt end in the Austrian Grand Prix last weekend with both drivers falling short of finishing amongst points.

Nico Hulkenberg eventually drove home in 19th position, whilst teammate Sergio Perez – who had finished third in his last two outings – came crashing down to earth with a 17th placed finish on the Red Bull Ring.

Brazilian Hulkenberg had started on the front row when drivers lined up on Sunday morning yet he was pushed further down the pecking order as the race commenced.

An equally disappointing story for Perez, whose poor qualifying drive set up an ultimately disappointing time in Austria.

UPS AND DOWNS: Sergio Perez had previously recorded successive third placed finishes in Monaco and Baku prior to his ‘no point’s’ performance in Austria

UPS AND DOWNS: Sergio Perez had previously recorded successive third placed finishes in Monaco and Baku prior to his ‘no point’s’ performance in Austria

Team Principal, Dr Vijay Mallya, said the team have come to grips with what went wrong and are hoping to set the record straight when Silverstone arrives this Sunday.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Monaco Grand Prix - Sunday - Monte Carlo, Monaco“Leaving Austria empty-handed was very disappointing. We showed good form throughout the weekend, but various factors prevented us from realising our true potential. We’ve understood what went wrong and I’m confident we can bounce back this weekend at Silverstone,” he said.

“We shouldn’t let one unlucky race overshadow the great results we have been achieving recently.

“We’re sitting fifth in the championship and the battle for fourth remains wide open with twelve races still to go. We’ve got some extra performance coming for the VJM09 this weekend and that should help us for the races leading up to the summer break.”

Ahead of this weekend’s return to Britain for Silverstone, Dr Mallya remained optimistic.

“There is no denying that Silverstone is one of the most special races of the whole season. Being so close to our factory, just across the road, means our staff can be close to the action and we enjoy incredible support from our fans,” he added.

“The British Grand Prix is one of the classic races on the calendar and the atmosphere is unique: the supporters are brilliant and knowledgeable; there is a party atmosphere in the campsites and the weekend is a true celebration of our sport.”

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Baku Brilliance

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PODIUM FINISH: Sergio Perez registered his second third place finish in this year’s Formula One campaign last weekend

PODIUM FINISH: Sergio Perez registered his second third place finish in this year’s Formula One campaign last weekend

The image of Sergio Perez on the podium is becoming somewhat of a common sight in Formula One this season after the Force India driver sealed his second third place finish of 2016 last weekend.

Racing in Baku, Azerbaijan, for the first time, the race was one which will be fondly remembered for the Force India team, who continue to build on a stellar campaign.

Finishing only behind championship leader, Nico Rosberg and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, Perez registered 15 points for the constructors whilst teammate, Nico Hulkenberg, picked up two more in ninth spot.

Speaking of his latest race success, Perez said: “I knew that the podium was possible today, but we really had to work hard for it. The key to my race was the great start I made to get around a Williams [Massa] and a Toro Rosso [Kvyat].

“Then, in the first stint I was suffering with graining of my supsersoft tyres and we had to decide whether to wait for it to improve or to make an early stop. In the end, we stayed out longer, which was the right decision, but when I came out of the pits I struggled to warm-up the soft tyres and I was under big pressure from Lewis [Hamilton] behind.

“I pushed as hard as I could and opened up a gap, and then I focussed on looking after my tyres.

“I closed in on Kimi [Raikkonen] and I knew he had a penalty, but on the final lap I got very close to him and saw the opportunity to overtake him, so I took it. To be on the podium for a second time this year feels fantastic. The team has done a brilliant job and we are having an amazing year.”

Up next for drivers is the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday 3rd July before teams head over to the UK just one week later.

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Crashed-out

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Canada’s Grand Prix had always promised to bring excitement and adrenaline-pumping joy to race fans across the world and they were not disappointed after last weekend’s contest.

It was an ‘anyone can win this’ sort of encounter where even Force India’s Sergio Perez had looked likely for a podium finish with just a couple of laps to go.

Applying a one-stop strategy, he had flown into a challenging position yet when he was the innocent victim of a high-speed crash on the final lap, it meant his chances of any points were thrown out the window.

UNLUCKY: Sergio Perez had looked like he could snatch a podium finish yet crashed out on the final lap after Felipe Massa made contact with his car

UNLUCKY: Sergio Perez had looked like he could snatch a podium finish yet crashed out on the final lap after Felipe Massa made contact with his car

Felipe Massa had attempted to overtake the Mexican, who was struggling with a lack of braking power, yet inadvertently made contact sending both drivers into the wall in a horrific crash.

This allowed both Red Bull drivers to pick up podium finishes, with Daniel Ricciardo (first) and Sebastian Vettel (third) joining Nico Rosberg (second) in celebrations.

The ever reliant Nico Hulkenberg came home in his seemingly favoured fifth spot, to take his own tally of points this season to a massive 57.

Speaking after the race, Hulkenberg said: “It has been a very busy race for me today, so to come away with ten points and a fifth place is a good result.

“I gained some positions at the end due to the crash between Sergio and Massa but lost one to Jenson [Button] when I was in a battle with Alonso, but we were always going to finish in the points regardless.

“The safety car at the start didn't help me as it allowed those on supersoft tyres to stretch their stints.

“Being on a different strategy from everyone else meant I always had someone pushing close behind me; it was fun, but also very challenging, especially towards the end of the race as I had quite a long stint on the supersoft tyres.”

Perez, who says he thought a podium finish was ‘possible’ was discharged from hospital the same day.

He said: “On the final lap I was defending my position going into turn one when I suddenly got hit from behind.

It was a big impact, but I am okay.

“I’m really sad for the team because we had an amazing race today and the one-stop strategy was working perfectly.”

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No stopping the HULK

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With the 2014 Formula One season beginning to take shape, there have been a few things that lovers of the sport know they can now rely on.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg seem certain for a one-two finish in just about every race, Sebastian Vettel is in the worst slump of his Red Bull career, and of course Force India’s very own Nico Hulkenberg will pick up a points finish.

The German driver has been performing above all expectations this year, and his latest ten point haul at the Monaco Grand Prix last weekend has propelled him into fifth place in the Driver’s Championship.

FAST: Nico Hulkenberg picked up his third fifth-place finish last weekend at the Monaco Grand Prix

FAST: Nico Hulkenberg picked up his third fifth-place finish last weekend at the Monaco Grand Prix

His fifth placed finish is the best ever for any Force India driver at the world-renowned track, and Hulkenberg picked up the points in style, completing one of the finest overtaking manoeuvres of the current campaign.
Speaking after the race, the 26-year-old driver, who finished fifth for the third time this year, said he was delighted with his performance.

“Ten points today is a great reward after such a difficult race,” he said. “The last twenty laps were really tricky because my supersoft tyres were at the end of their life and it was hard to hold off the cars behind me and stay away from the barriers.

“There were a few close moments when I kissed the wall, but I survived and managed to hold on to fifth place.
“Fortunately my car was quick in the right places – going into the tunnel and also through the final corner.”

Speaking about his favourite moment of the race, he added: “There were some enjoyable moments in the race, especially my move on Magnussen.

“He had to let the Toro Rosso back through and he lost a bit of momentum so I saw my opportunity to stick my nose down the inside of turn eight. On a track like Monaco it gives you a big smile to make the move stick.”

Unfortunately for the Force India team, Hulkenberg’s teammate, Sergio Perez, was clipped on the first lap and forced to retire to leave the Mexican with no points in France.

Drivers and Constructors will now head to North America for their next challenge with the Canadian Grand Prix set to be held on the 8th June.

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A Force to be dealt with

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After picking up just 77 points throughout the whole of the 2013 Formula One campaign, Force India’s new look team have been the surprise package of 2014, with the team currently sat in third place in the constructors standings.

An amazing start to Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India career has seen him clinch a point’s finish in every race, with last weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix proving to be no exception, coming home in sixth place.

Teammate, Sergio Perez, picked up two points after another convincing display off the back of his podium finish in Malaysia earlier this month.

FLYING: Nico Hulkenberg has made a great start to the 2014 Formula season, and currently sits fourth in the driver’s standings after a sixth place finish in China

FLYING: Nico Hulkenberg has made a great start to the 2014 Formula season, and currently sits fourth in the driver’s standings after a sixth place finish in China

The side have now amassed a huge total of 54 points after just four races and look set to smash their record points tally for a single season.

“Finishing in sixth and bringing both cars home in the points again was a very positive result for the team,” the German Hulkenberg said.

“It was actually a pretty straightforward race for me after we got in front of Massa: I had to manage my tyres, my pace and avoid mistakes, and it only got tricky at the end when Bottas was getting a bit closer.

“We have beaten all other customer Mercedes cars, which are our main competition at the moment, but we have also seen some other teams up their game so we will need to keep pushing.”

Perez, who started the race way back in 16th position on the grid, finished in ninth spot and says the whole team is now focussed on maintaining their impressive form in Barcelona in May.

“It was not easy to overtake today, even the cars on a different strategy, so I think ninth place was the maximum,” he said.

“It means I’ve scored points in three out of four races, but I was hoping for more today after the weekend we had in Bahrain.

“It’s also clear that all the teams around us are finding pace so we have to keep working hard to be ready for Barcelona.”

The Barcelona Grand Prix will take place on 11th May, with home-country favourite, Fernando Alonso, looking to repeat last year’s success and come away with a first place finish.

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It’s back!

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With the 2014 Formula One season finally kicking off this weekend at the Australian Grand Prix, Sahara Force India driver, Sergio Perez has been speaking about his excitement ahead of the first race.

Perez joined Force India in the off-season and with driving partner, Nico Hulkenberg, alongside him, he will be hoping to build on his 11th place finish from last season.

OPTIMISTIC: Sergio Perez says the whole Force India team are ‘hungry’ for success this year and is expecting ‘big things’

OPTIMISTIC: Sergio Perez says the whole Force India team are ‘hungry’ for success this year and is expecting ‘big things’

Q) Sergio, the start of the season is here. Are you looking forward to racing in Melbourne?

A) It’s the first race of the year so I’ve been looking forward to this moment for a long time. I hope we can have a great start of the season.

Q) How have you found the new generation of Formula One cars to drive?

A) The new rules are interesting and the cars are quite challenging. There is less downforce now, but there is a lot of torque from the engine so it’s quite a different feeling. You also have to think about managing the fuel load and we know that Melbourne is a circuit with high fuel consumption.

Q) Do you feel busier in the car this year?

A) Yes, there are more things to do in terms of managing the systems on the car so it’s more complicated than last year. The pre-season testing has given us enough time to get to know the new systems so I don't foresee any issue come the first race.

Q) How would you sum up the pre-season so far?

A) I think we are feeling well prepared going into Melbourne. Testing has had its ups and downs, as always, but we ended the second Bahrain test in a good position. There are still areas we need to improve, but I think we have made a good start and we can build on that.

Q) How are you feeling about your first race weekend with Sahara Force India?

A) It's always a good feeling to start with a new team. I had a full winter to get to know everyone and I’m feeling ready now. The team is very hungry and I hope we can achieve some great things this year.

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Perez takes to the track at Jerez

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With fewer than 100 laps completed by all drivers earlier this week at the first day of the Jerez test, Force India’s new VJM07 car will have to wait to be tested to its full potential.

The F1 sleeping giants were just one of the teams who were made to wait on the first test day of the new turbo era, with Sergio Perez only completing 11 laps in total.

Nico Hulkenberg was forced to wait until Thursday before trying out his new wheels, whilst Perez got to grips with the model throughout Wednesday’s session.

TEAM: Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg will be representing Force India throughout the 2014 campaign

TEAM: Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg will be representing Force India throughout the 2014 campaign

Speaking after a long, drawn out day one, Sergio Perez said: “As expected it has been quite a slow day for everybody in Jerez.

“The main job was to learn as much as possible each time the car went out so that we could identify and solve any issues. It was not really possible to get a feeling for the car because we only did a small number of laps, but the important thing is that the car is up and running.”

The former McLaren driver recorded a best lap time of 1:33.161, notching up a total of just over 48km throughout the whole day.

Andrew Green, Technical Director for Force India explained how, despite only managing a few laps, the constructors have been able to take away a lot of lessons from the day.

He said: “Tuesday’s laps were a key first step for the development of the VJM07.

“There’s still a long way to go, but we have been able to start checking all the new systems on the car, especially the power unit and the gearbox.

There have been a few teething problems, which is to be expected with a new car, but we’ve already learned a great deal in just one day. The plan for tomorrow is more of the same as we continue to get miles on the car.”

Nico Hulkenberg is set to have his first drive on Thursday whilst Daniel Juncadella will get behind the wheel on Friday.

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New look Force India welcomes Sergio Perez

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With the acquisition of Nico Hulkenberg last week, Force India have wasted no time in finding a new partner for the German, after snapping up the highly-rated Sergio Perez.

Despite finishing the 2013 season in fine form, registering 26 points from his final four races, the McLaren driver was released from the constructors after the last race, yet it certainly didn’t take him long to find a new home.

The 23-year-old Mexican completes Sahara Force India’s 2014 line-up alongside Hulkenberg and helps create one of the most exciting pairings on the grid.

SIGNED: Force India Team Principal and Managing Director, Dr Vijay Mallya, said it was a ‘pleasure to welcome Sergio Perez to the team’

SIGNED: Force India Team Principal and Managing Director, Dr Vijay Mallya, said it was a ‘pleasure to welcome Sergio Perez to the team’

Dr Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director welcomed his new driver to Force India and believes that Perez has the ability to push the team to a new level.

He said: “It’s a pleasure to welcome Sergio to the team. He brings a healthy mix of youth and experience, and I’ve been very impressed with his recent performances. He already has several podium finishes to his name and being chosen by McLaren last year was a clear indication that he is a driver to watch for the future.

“We also recognise Sergio’s incredible talent and we are proud to have him in our team. He clearly has great speed and plenty of fire in his belly. Our job is to make sure he settles in quickly by creating the right atmosphere so that he can realise his potential. By pairing Sergio alongside Nico, we enter the new season with an extremely competitive line-up, which will go toward helping us achieve our goals for the new season.”

Sergio Perez added: “Coming here was always my first choice and I’m really happy everything has now been confirmed. I want to say thank you to Vijay and the whole team for giving me the opportunity.

“This is a young team with a lot of determination and they’ve produced competitive cars for the last few years. It’s all change for next season with the new regulations, but I already have a good feeling about 2014.”

Whilst Force India may be looking forward to an exciting new season, British driver, Paul Di Resta appears to be out in the cold as his Formula One future looks in serious doubt.

The Brit enjoyed a productive season last year, finishing just one point off his replacement, Perez, yet it seems he may now switch racing codes to IndyCar or return to German touring cars. Adrian Sutil meanwhile is hotly tipped to join Sauber in the near future.

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Return of the incredible Hulk-enberg

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Just one year after Nico Hulkenberg said his goodbye’s to the Force India team, the German is back and raring to go for the 2014 season.

Hulkenberg officially rejoined the team on the 3rd December from Sauber, having spent the 2011 and 2012 season with the constructors, and is now expected to partner either Paul Di Resta or Adrian Sutil next year.

The 26-year-old, who finished 10th in last year’s final Drivers Standings, has already built up a strong working relationship and will look to complete a smooth transition as the team moves into the new era of Formula One.

DRIVER: Force India Team Principal and Managing Director, Dr Vijay Mallya pictured with his latest acquisition, Nico Hulkenberg

DRIVER: Force India Team Principal and Managing Director, Dr Vijay Mallya pictured with his latest acquisition, Nico Hulkenberg

Dr Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director of Force India, was glad to see Hulkenberg ‘back onboard’ and is excited for the new season.

He said: “I’m delighted to see Nico back with Sahara Force India. When he drove for us in 2012, it became clear Nico was an exceptional talent and he has continued to impress everyone in the paddock with his strong performances this season.

“Having Nico in our line-up is a real statement of intent and a huge boost for everyone associated with the team. We have high hopes and expectations for 2014 and by signing Nico we have put ourselves in the best position to achieve those objectives and enjoy what could be our most competitive season yet.

Speaking after signing the deal, Hulkenberg said he was ‘happy to be back’.

“The team is aiming high for next year and I believe that the experience I have gained over the years will help us achieve those goals,” he said.

“I genuinely believe we can have a competitive package in 2014. I’ve heard a lot of positive things about the Mercedes engine as well, so I think there is a lot to be excited about for next year.

“I know this team and I can see their determination; it’s a great bunch of people and we all share the same hunger for success.”

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Checkered flag waved on 2013 season

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Eight months and 19 races after the 2013 Formula One season was launched, the whole show came to an end last weekend, with the now common sight of Sebastian Vettel being crowned victorious.

The German has had a stellar season, winning all of the final nine races, 13 in total, and breaking record after record for the Red Bull team.

GOODBYE: Mark Webber will leave the sport after 12 years, to focus on other racing

GOODBYE: Mark Webber will
leave the sport after 12 years, to focus on other racing

Last weekend’s Grand Prix in picturesque Brazil was the icing on the cake for the 26-year-old who walked away with his fourth consecutive world title. Teammate Mark Webber also clinched his eighth podium finish of the year, coming in third, and will now leave the sport after 12 years to focus on a career elsewhere in racing.  Force India’s pairing of Adrian Sutil and Paul Di Resta have had a rollercoaster season to reflect on after a flying start petered out into seven blank results in the final 11 races.

Both drivers finished the latest race empty handed which proved to be a cruel blow to the British racer, Di Resta, who slipped down two positions in the final overall standings to 12th; Adrian Sutil was 19 points behind in 13th.

BLANK: Paul Di Resta was disappointed to finish the season outside of the top ten but was proud of the team’s efforts this year

BLANK: Paul Di Resta was disappointed to finish the season outside of the top ten but was proud of the team’s efforts this year

Speaking after the race, Di Resta said: “Although I missed out on a top ten position in the championship, it’s been a successful season, an incredible journey and I want to say a massive thanks to the team for the job they’ve done this year.

“I think we can go away from here quite satisfied with what we achieved today and with the year as a whole.” Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal, reiterated his racers’ comments adding: “In the end we achieved our target of a top six finish quite comfortably, which is a real credit to everybody at Sahara Force India. It means we’ve finished in the top six twice in the last three seasons, consolidating our reputation as being the best non-manufacturer team.

“Looking back on the season as a whole I think we can be proud of our performance. The start of the year was exceptional and we recaptured our form in the final few races. We look forward to the challenge of 2014 and will come back determined to pick up where we left off.”

PODIUM: (l-r) Mark Webber (Third); Sebastian Vettel (First); Fernando Alonso (Second) celebrate their finish at the final grand prix of the season

PODIUM: (l-r) Mark Webber (Third); Sebastian Vettel (First); Fernando
Alonso (Second) celebrate their finish at the final grand prix of the season

Formula One will return next year for the 2014 campaign with the first race in Australia in March. Until then, teams have four months to ready themselves for the next installment with constructors and drivers alike having to try to find a way of stopping the Vettel dominance.

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