Mallya predicts early season dominance by Mercedes powered teams 5 March, 2014 Vijay Mallya in Bahrain Force India had an impressive pre-season, at times topping the timing sheets. In their new Mercedes powered VJM07 appear to have produced handy weapons for Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, which has given team boss Vijay Mallya reason to feel confident ahead of the Australian GP season opener. Speaking to the F1 official website Mallya said of his team’s pre-season form, “If that’s not a good sign and every reason to be optimistic…or let’s put it this way: cautiously optimistic.” It is clear that Mercedes powered teams head to Melbourne with an advantage which Force India intend to capitalise on. “The first four races present a great opportunity, particularly for the Mercedes-powered teams, because so far they are showing that [we] are ahead of the rest. But in the end it will be all about – here comes the word again – reliability,” ventured Mallya. “My guess is that these four races will be a bit of a luxury for the Mercedes-powered teams – and once we get to Europe, that is where some serious racing will start.” “You can do many fancy things during testing, but a race is a race and the conditions of a race are very different. By the time we get back to Europe many teams will have sorted out their issues and some big upgrades will be coming from Barcelona onwards,” predicts the Indian tycoon. (GP247) Subbed by AJN.