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Force India - The season ahead

Jayant Jalan
748   //    16 Mar 2012, 23:43 IST

“..the VJM05 is the best engineered car we have produced ..” – Vijay Mallya

Admist all the troubles he faces,  the above statement by Mr.Vijay Mallya is indicative of the hope he harbours for his F1 team this year. The hopes are not on weak ground, if the Pre Season Tests and the Practice sessions on Friday are anything to go by.  The team has consistently featured in the top ten as the first qualifying session of the season is less than 12 hours away. Perhaps the first indication of wether the early form of the Force India was for real or due to the sand bagging and different strategies by other teams, will only be got once the Melbourne GP qualifying is over.

It seems that Mr.Vijay Mallya has lived up to his words as far as Force India goes.  When he took over the Spyker team he had said that his aim was to make this team a genuine and strong midfield competitor from a team that was a minnow in F1. Many of us thought that, what he promised may never happen or at most he may catch up the back end of the midfield. But to the surprise of many the team has headed only north ever since he took over. Year upon year it has moved from strengths to strengths but the road was not easy. Early last season Force India was rocked by IP Rights issues in the courts as well as the fact that it lost its major technical personnel like James Key to Sauber. But the team under the new Leadership of Andy Green brought a supposed new design philosophy mid year and the results were there for everyone to see with the team scoring points in all the races in the second half of the season with many double point finishes as well. The team was a slow starter last year but by Brazillian GP they were the fifth fastest, they again climbed a place in the Constructors Championship in 2011 where they finished Sixth up from the 7th position they acheived in 2010.

The 2012 season one feels may be a season which defines the teams future, with Sahara India Pariwar on- board and Mallya’s recent fund infusion, it may be the year when the new design team with access to increasing resources turn Mallya’s dream into reality with a podium at the Indian GP come October. But the fate of Force India also lies in the hands of  the relatively new drivers in Nico Hulkenberg and Paul Di Resta, the duo are not rookies but they aren’t that experienced either. It will be a challenge for the team to find a benchmark as Di Resta is only in his second season as an open wheel racer and Hulkenberg is making a comeback after spending a year driving on some fridays for Force India last year. It may well be a  case where the team may not be able to extract the full potential of its car. On the other hand both have been identified as major talents in the lower categories they have competed in. But with a seemingly tight mid field this year any slip up may cost the team very dear.

The early signs looks promising, but who knows what the future holds. But certainly, FORCE INDIA seems to be a force to be reckoned with this year.

Jayant Jalan
An all round sports lover. Will hear many un canny opinions and conspiracy theories from me....
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