F1’s perennial overachiever, Force India, launched its 2017 car today at Silverstone. Badger’s Rob Watts was there to get the lowdown, and find out what Sergio Perez expects from his fourth season with the team.
Last season the team achieved its highest ever position in the constructors’ championship, scoring a team record 173 points in the process – a performance which prompted Martin Brundle to claim “For pounds spent in F1, Force India are world champions.”
Progressing beyond that level of performance will be difficult as the F1’s new rules for 2017 present a unique challenge, one which the team are confident of taking on.
Team boss Vijay Mallya said he was “excited” at the launch of the team’s new car, and said that the team would give it their all to break into the top three this year. When asked to make prediction for the season ahead, he added “I have always believed in under-promising and over-delivering, and I’m sticking with that as a philosophy.”
French rookie Esteban Ocon joins the team for 2017, after impressing in his short stint at the now defunct Manor team. With this being Ocon’s first full-season in the sport, he explained that his pre-season had involved “much more physical training” than normal to deal with the increased G-forces expected from the new cars.
Joining a new team can pose a challenge for any driver, but Ocon says he has enjoyed his short time with the team so far: “I’ve had to learn how to work with everyone, and get to know everyone, but it’s been nice. It’s been a long time since I’ve had preparation like this. I feel ready.”
A driver’s first benchmark will always be their team mate, and Ocon is optimistic of fairing well against his new partner, Sergio Perez: “He’s a great driver, but I want to learn a lot from him in the winter test. I want to see how he works with the team and speaks to the team, because I want to be as fast as him straight away in the first race.”
Perez clearly rates his new team mate highly, saying: “I don’t know much about him as a driver, but I like him as a person. He has the right attitude and his willing to work hard; I think he will give me a hard time.”
Talking about his own prospects of success, Perez said “There are plenty of reasons to be confident for this year, i’m definitely looking forward to it.”
“I fully believe we can take the next step, and that’s the main target for team. I will be disappointed if we can’t move forwards and improve on what we did last year.”
The VJM10 is Force India’s tenth car since their debut back in 2008, here’s a look back at how their previous efforts have looked.