Force India’s Vijay Mallya has been ‘greatly encouraged’ by Adrian Sutil’s sixth place finish in the German Grand Prix, beating both Mercedes works cars on merit. The Team Principal and CEO now looks on to Hungary with much optimism.
Would you agree that, in terms of pure performance, Germany was one of the best races the team has had?
It was certainly one of our better performances. Over the last few years F1 has become ever more competitive. The gap between the cars has reduced quite a lot from what it was a few years ago. So in this new scenario we’ve shown that we are truly competitive. We could race with Mercedes, which I think is a big achievement for a team that probably operates on a quarter of their budget! So we’re feeling really good.
Do you feel that a result like this has been on the cards for a while?
We showed great promise, actually from Monaco onwards. We were competitive in Canada, where at one stage Paul (di Resta) was running fifth or sixth. Then both the drivers had moments and did not finish. In Valencia Adrian scored points and at Silverstone once again there was no reason why both cars should not have finished in the points, but we just messed it up on the pit wall. Everything came together in Germany.
Is it especially satisfying to get sixth on merit, with only Jenson Button retiring – just after he passed Adrian?
Absolutely. At the end of the day one of the objectives of racing has to be that you bring the car home. Some do, some don’t. It’s all a part of being competitive. In qualifying we showed that, in conditions that were equal for everyone, our cars were truly competitive. We hope to continue our development from here on.
Adrian has had some bad luck recently, so was it good to see him have such a strong weekend?
For Adrian to finish sixth, in front of both Mercedes cars, we have every reason to be very proud. Unfortunately Paul had the incident with Nick Heidfeld, otherwise he would have been in the points as well. We’ve had our fair share of bad luck, so I hope that stops now! What happened to Paul was clearly bad luck, no fault of his at all. Both drivers have said they are very happy with the car, happy with the team, and I was pretty happy to see a greatly improved step-up in performance on the pit wall today. The strategy was planned right and executed right, so I’m pleased.
Tight and twisty tracks have not always been favorable for the car in recent years. Are you concerned that it might be hard to repeat this form in Hungary?
We have a lot more downforce than we did, so I feel quite confident that we can put up a good show. We have a small development for Hungary, we have a special Monza package, and we want to do some serious development in time for Singapore and beyond for the flyaway races. So I’m greatly encouraged.