F1: Force India admit Sauber catching up fast
New Delhi: Force India are looking to start afresh in the upcoming Indian Grand Prix this weekend, fully aware of the uphill task at hands of keeping rival Sauber behind in the Constructors` Championship standings, as the 2013 Formula One season draws to a conclusion with the final four races.
Sauber are aiming to catch up and overtake Force India for the sixth position in the Constructors` Championship after the Silverstone-based outfit returned empty-handed from their last two races in Korea (Yeongam) and Japan (Suzuka).
Sauber are currently 17 points behind Force India, and are aiming to edge past their nearest competitor at the remaining race weekends.
"Sauber have been doing a very good job lately. They are the in-form team at the moment and they have been taking all the opportunities that were presented to them. It`s going to be a real fight in these last four races. We need to make a step forward to hold them off because they can qualify well and they have strong race pace as well," Force India team principal, Vijay Mallya said.
Mallya hopes the support of the Indian fans will inspire the team to score big points.
"The races after the summer break haven`t been very positive in terms of scoring points, but the morale in the team remains strong. Korea and Japan were not the easiest of weekends, but everyone in the team is working really hard to recapture our early form. It`s all a matter of finding the right balance with the car - when we do that, we will be back in the points," he said.
Mallya said the Indian GP is always a very proud weekend for everyone in the team and they would look to score points at the home race as has always been the case.
"The atmosphere at the track is incredible and we always enjoy plenty of support. The track itself is one of the best in the world. It`s also a good one for us - in the last two years we scored points in both races, so a similar result would be a good target for the team," he said.
Force India driver Paul Di Resta, who gets set for the final part of the season and the team`s home race, said the target will be to get both cars in contention for points.
"We didn`t score points in Japan but we made some real progress with setting up the car, so going an extra step and getting in the top 10 has got to be the goal this weekend," said di Resta.
This will be di Resta`s third Indian GP and the Scottish driver says Friday is going to be crucial because this is one of those tracks where finding the right rhythm with a well-balanced car pays you back with lap time.
"I think the layout is one of the best from the new generation of tracks. Sector one stands out for me because it`s where you can really challenge somebody -- it`s got long straights and big braking zones and can make for some exciting battles. The rest of the track has elevation changes and off-camber corners so it`s a challenging combination for the engineers as it`s important to have good mechanical grip."
Adrian Sutil, who is coming back to India behind the wheel of a Force India car, said scoring points will be a big challenge for them, especially after struggling to get the balance and consistency with the car.
"I think scoring points will be a big task, but we will go there ready to fight. The last couple of races have not been easy for us and I`ve struggled to get the balance and consistency with the car. We are moving forward, however - we`ve learnt a lot from the last two races so hopefully that will help us find a direction that gives me the confidence to push the car harder," said Sutil.
Asked about the Buddh International Circuit track, Sutil said, "It`s a very demanding track which requires stability and a good front end. There are some similarities with Korea with some long, flowing corners in the second and third sectors where the downforce is important. We will need to find a good balance to be able to exploit these characteristics."