The former Jordan, Midland and Spyker team – now called Force India – have been optimistic of achieving a place in the second round of qualifying since they landed in Australia last month. The team have performing fairly well considering where they started from and Vijay Mallya’s squad should be pleased with what they’ve already managed. Giancarlo Fisichella has been able to haul the VJM-01 into two 17th places and an 18th on the grid for the three races so far, but on the recent attempt in Bahrain the experienced Italian was only a couple of tenths away from getting into Q2. And in their build-up to the Spanish Grand Prix, Force India are once again hoping they can achieve their first milestone.
A tenth of a second has never mattered as much as now. All the guys at the track and back at the factory are doing everything they possibly can to get every millisecond and we are now tantalisingly close to that competitive midfield group. […] We’re no longer at the back and though it will get tougher here on in, it’s a golden opportunity for us. Vijay Mallya.
Vijay stating there that they are “no longer at the back”, but failing to mention that in all honesty, all the team are beating at the moment in qualifying are Super Aguri, the odd STR, and a stranded Renault or penalised Williams. Still, it is only a few tenths as the midfield are all relatively close to one another.
Team principal Colin Kolles was also optimistic of his team’s abilities, going as far as suggesting points.
Our targets this time out will be to reach Q2 in qualifying and to score points. We are working very hard to reach these targets and I am confident we will reach them sooner rather than later. Colin Kolles.
I think Force India are perhaps being a little too optimistic, but the improvements are slowly coming their way. Qualifying aside, Fisichella has managed to finish twelfth in the two race distances he has completed, although the team should be concentrating their efforts on team mate Adrian Sutil at the moment. The German driver has failed to finish on two occasions, and his best result so far this year was in Bahrain. He finished in last place behind the Super Aguri’s, although largely thanks to a few incidents earlier in the race.
I can see Force India scoring in Spa and Fuji – but it’ll probably take rain before they can score this year. Q2 is entirely plausible and they’ve been so close to it so far that the surprise would be if they never got at least P16 in qualifying this year. 2009 is another matter; the new aero rules could mix things up a lot, given how close the mid-grid teams are right now. And it’s nice to think that Force India, after a few years out of it, are now back in the mid-grid (albeit usually at the back of that group).
As for Adrian Sutil, he really could do with a nice boring few races, because hydraulics issues and getting walloped by other cars isn’t helping his cause any.
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