Sahara Force India aims podium finish in last five races
Yeongam (South Korea): Among points in the last four races, Sahara Force India looks for a podium finish in the last five legs of the Formula One Championships, ahead of the Korean Grand Prix here on Sunday.
Team owner Vijay Mallya expressed satisfaction that his drivers have collected more points than last year but said that he would want to end the season even better.
"We are having a strong end to the season already. We have scored points in the last four races, including two fourth places, and we`ve already scored more points than we did during the whole of last year. Both drivers have been close to the podium this year -- that must be the goal in the final five races," Mallya said.
"A podium has been goal since the start of the year. It`s what we need if we are to get closer to sixth in the championship. We`ve got two very competitive drivers and either one of them is capable of doing it under the right conditions. With five races to go there is still plenty to play for and we won`t give up.
"Our car will suit some tracks more than others, but as long as we keep picking up the points we can keep the pressure on the teams around us. Korea should be good for us and hopefully Abu Dhabi and India," he added.
Reflecting on the Japanese GP last weekend, Mallya said, "It was a decent weekend for Nico (Hulkenberg) and a good recovery drive considering the issues we had on Saturday morning. It was unfortunate to have the grid penalty for the gearbox change, but I think seventh place was a fair result given our pace during the weekend.
"On the other side of the garage we underachieved with Paul, but it was not his fault. With the clutch issue at the beginning of the race he fell back significantly and his race was hurt badly as a result. If we had done a little better and had two cars in the points we would have been a bit closer to Sauber now," he said.
Hulkenberg, who gave Sahara Force India`s first point in Japanese GP, said that he was not expecting to collect a point in Suzuka.
"The result in Japan was not something I was expecting and I was especially pleased with the race pace and the balance of the car. It was not the most straightforward weekend so it felt good to recover things on Sunday and come away with some useful points.
"The VJM05 performed well in Singapore and Japan, two very different tracks ? that must be encouraging for the remainder of the season. I think compared to the start of the year we probably understand the car a lot better and that`s helping us find more performance, and improve our race pace," he said.
Hulkenberg said he would be hoping a good show here on Sunday at the track where he had scored point in 2010 as Williams driver.
"I have some good memories from 2010 with Williams when I scored a point in the very wet race. I think we can go there and get a good result because it`s a track that`s a mixture of everything: low-speed, high-speed and straights. The final sector feels just like a street circuit and it`s quite technical with some challenging corners," said the 25-year-old German.
Paul Di Resta felt that his team can still catch up with Sauber to finish sixth.
"Mathematically it is realistic to take the fight to Sauber, but to get ahead of them we will need to be in the points at all the remaining races. Sauber were on the podium again in Japan, which makes our task even more difficult, but we are hopeful that the tracks coming up will be more suited to us ? certainly compared to Suzuka. To beat them we will need to be on top of all the issues we had in Japan."