HUNGARORING, July 25, 2014 (F1plus/Graham Keilloh).- Today in the Hungaroring ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix the Force India team principal Vijay Mallya was looking ahead to the remainder of the season with optimism.
The team currently sits in fifth place in the constructors’ standings, and not far from the likes of Williams, Ferrari and McLaren, after a strong early part of the season. When asked if he felt that the Silvertsone team could keep up the fight with such teams, despite apparently slipping on pace in recent races, Mallya was unequivocal.
“I don’t think we’ve slipped. We continue to do our best, we’ve scored points in every race. Williams have done an outstanding job, I think that was pretty clear in pre-season testing, and results have shown (that). But I think between Williams, McLaren, Sauber, Force India, Ferrari the gap is small and can be closed even in one race.
“Of course the double points in the last race may change the equation completely and one never knows in whose favour.
“We feel quite confident that we can fight to stay where we are, maybe even get a little ahead. I think it’s realistic to be optimistic as well. And as long as the car is performing then I look forward to many races to go.”
Mallya was asked too whether he felt his team could continue to fight with McLaren, but two points behind in the constructors’ tables, but he played down such a comparison. “You know I don’t always want to set the benchmark with McLaren, they are a world championship winning team. We obviously are ahead on merit, they have the propensity to catch up, but equally we have the propensity to improve even further.”
Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg meanwhile said that tyre wear was of little concern to Force India in Hungary this weekend.
When asked when he was backing off to save the tyres today Hulkenberg said: “Not at all, it was flat out.” On the medium tyre he said: “Fine, no issues, it’s not as fast as the soft but pretty consistent.”
As to whether the Force India’s habitual kindness to the tyres would be a help the German mused: “Maybe, possibly, maybe we are more kind to the tyres…usually we have good tyre numbers and that gives us some flexibility and options with regard to the strategy.”
On the likely number of stops on race day he said: “(It looks like) two at the moment. It depends obviously here as you don’t want to be in traffic and there is positives and negatives for both.”
When asked if the softer tyre compounds could have been selected than the soft and medium brought by Pirelli Hulkenberg said: “Obviously we need to see some wear figures and tyre life…I think it (softer compounds) would have worked but it wasn’t done so we have to work with what we have.”