Force India’ drivers are playing down expectations ahead of the long-awaited debut of their B-car at Silverstone.
Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez have been impatiently waiting for the upgraded car all season so far, after the team’s troubled winter left them at the wheel of the compromised 2015 machine.
Armed with the Mercedes engine, however, Force India is a highly credible fifth in the constructors’ table, sandwiched between Red Bull and Lotus.
“That’s incredible,” Mexican Perez told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport. “With this car. It shows how strong the team is, making the most of our opportunities.”
And now, expectations are sky-high for the much-vaunted ‘B’ car, which will finally be debuted at the British grand prix next weekend.
Many of the new parts were debuted in the post-Austrian grand prix test this week, but only by testers Pascal Wehrlein as well as Esteban Ocon, a highly rated GP3 driver.
El Confidencial quoted the 18-year-old Ocon as saying the ‘B’ machine was “fantastic — mega fast!”
“Let’s see what happens at Silverstone, but it will probably be a really fast car,” Ocon enthused.
Perez and Hulkenberg, however, are more circumspect.
When asked about the ‘B’ car, Perez said: “The data looks good. But we must be careful. Perhaps we should not expect too much in the beginning. We must get to know the new car first.”
German Hulkenberg qualified fifth and finished sixth with the much-maligned old car in Austria, and some insiders are saying the ‘B’ car – with its radical new ‘nostriled’ nose – could be up to a second per lap faster.
“About the upgrades,” the Le Mans winner said, “often you promise everything under the sun and it doesn’t quite turn out that way.
“I want to wait and see and feel the car under me before I make a judgement,” Hulkenberg added. “Nevertheless, I am optimistic that we will take a step forward.”