Podium finish for Force India looks very hard: Fernley
In what may come as a damper for Sahara Force India (SFI) fans in the country and abroad, the Silverstone-based outfit's deputy team principal Bob Fernley has said that the prospect of a Force India car finishing on the podium this season seemed distant.
“Vijay (Mallya, team principal) has said he would like to see a podium finish and we would like to deliver for him. But it (a podium finish) is very hard,” Fernley told MiD DAY from Malaysia.
Driver Adrian Sutil had proclaimed before the season began that a podium finish was around the corner. The team’s only podium finish to date came when Italian driver Giancarlo Fisichella finished second at the Belgium Grand Prix in 2009.
Fernley, meanwhile, was more upbeat about their performances in Australia and the first two practice sessions held in Sepang yesterday where Sutil and Paul Di Resta finished both sessions among the 10 fastest drivers.
“This is a very strong start. In fact, it’s our strongest start in three years. For the last few years, our weakness was that we couldn’t start the season strongly,” Fernley said adding that the team would look to replicate their 2012 performance at Sepang when both the cars (driven by Di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg) finished in the top-10.
On being asked what SFI’s target was this season, a realistic Fernley said: “We are competing to finish among the top-5 teams. But the top 4 teams are very strong. McLaren, which has not been firing on all cylinders so far, will come back strongly and make it harder for us. So, we would like to score some points in the first few races.”