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Vijay Mallya optimistic of retaining sixth position

PTI| Updated: Oct 25, 2013, 21:26 PM IST

Greater Noida: Sauber might be breathing down their neck but Sahara Force India Team Principal Vijay Mallya on Friday said he was optimistic about his team maintaining its current sixth position in the constructors championship at the end of the season.

Force India were sitting comfortably on sixth position four races ago but Sauber reduced the gap by securing 38 points in their last four races, even as the Indian team failed to finish within the top-10 bracket in the last two races.

Going into the Indian Grand Prix, Force India are just 17 points ahead of Sauber.

Mallya said they have invested a lot in preparing the car for 2014 season but at the same time they are hopeful of keeping fast-catching Sauber at bay in the remaining four races in this season.

"The change of the tyres for Silverstone has been detrimental within the mechanical development of the car. Yes we dedicated R&D tools to 2014 car. We are understanding the tyres and we are pleased with today`s result in practice. We want to improve further in the last races.

"Hopefully we will hang on to our 6th position in the championship. Sauber is coming dangerously close to our team. We are heading in the right direction. Having said that the results will speak for themselves," Mallya said.

"Whatever we have suffered this year will be a good investment for the next year," he added.

The liquor baron also added that the promoters of the race, JPSI, are confident that Indian Grand Prix will come back in 2015.

"When I was walking this morning, I met the owner of the track. I was happy to hear that he confirmed that the race will be back as of 2015 onwards. 2014 had scheduling problems in October. In 2015 it will be alright to be running a race in the spring time. Looking at the investment gone through to create this facility I was delighted to hear that the race would be back from 2015 onwards," he said.

Asked about their decision to put a hashtag -- master blaster -- on their car for Sunday`s race, Mallya said it was a fitting tribute to Sachin Tendulkar, who is set to retire after playing his 200th Test next month.

"Cricket is a religion in our country. As he signs off from cricket after 200 Tests, it was normal to see him celebrated on our car. It was a fitting tribute," said Mallya.