Mallya: We have a big fight to beat McLaren in the remaining races 25 July, 2013 Vijay Mallya upbeat about his team’s potential this season One of the surprise teams of the 2013 F1 world championship season thus far has been Force India, and although team principal Vijay Mallya acknowledges this is the best start to a season in their history at the pinnacle of the sport, he laments the opportunities missed that cost them points. Speaking ahead of the Hungarian GP, Mallya said, “I think the first nine races have probably exceeded the expectations we set ourselves over the winter. The first mission was to start the year well and that’s what we’ve done. In fact, it’s been our best start to a season ever: we’ve shown good pace and had some excellent races. At the same time we recognise that we haven’t made the most of all the opportunities and we’ve had our fair share of bad luck.” The business tycoon added, “I prefer to focus on the positives and there’s no doubt that the VJM06 is the best car we have ever produced and I’m proud of the hard work from everyone in the team.” Paul di Resta slugging it out with the top guns Silverstone based Force India flying high at the moment, lying fifth in the championship standings, ahead of McLaren with their two drivers Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil regularly mixing it up in the top ten. But Mallya is under no illusions, “I would expect the remainder of the season to be more competitive than the first half of the year. We’ve seen the progress of McLaren, especially in Germany, and it’s clear [that] we have a big fight on our hands to beat them in the remaining races. Toro Rosso have also looked more competitive recently so I think we will see tight grids and very close racing all the way through until the final race in Brazil.” Since the team began its F1 journey, at the 2008 Australian Grand Prix, they have only ever been on the podium once – when Giancarlo Fisichella finished second in the 2009 Belgian GP – but this year they have a car with potential to score a podium finish (for either driver) should they maximise opportunities during a grand prix weekend. Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil doing a good job for the team Mallya outlined the team’s immediate objectives, “The priority remains the same as the Silverstone test: to get better understanding of the new Pirelli tyres. That’s been a key factor in our strong performances so far this year so we need to make sure we continue to deliver good tyre management.” “As a venue, the Hungaroring has not traditionally been our strongest track. Paul scored points a couple of years ago and it’s important to add some more to our tally this weekend,” concluded the India entrepreneur. (GP247) Subbed by AJN.