Despite Adrian Sutil’s recent bad luck Force India is currently holding fifth place in the World Championship, and while the team acknowledges that it won’t be easy to outrun McLaren over the season, it does not rule out the possibility.
Sutil set second fastest lap in Bahrain and third fastest lap in Spain in the course of recovery drives from early delays.
Deputy team principal Bob Fernley believes that the outfit can maintain its good current form.
“Fifth is something we’ll fight for, but being realistic you can’t easily fight with the might of McLaren,” Fernley told this writer. “It’s nice to come out of the first five races in fifth place, but can we hold it? It will be tough. But we’ll give it a good go! We’ve got competitive drivers giving everything they can.
“I think the weakness for the team at the moment is getting both cars in the points. That’s what we’ve got to try and overcome. In Bahrain effectively we beat two Mercedes, two Ferraris, two McLarens and a Red Bull. We’re not quite there yet to be able to take on the pace that some of them have, but I think we can race Mercedes at the moment.”
Fernley doesn’t think that the team will lose out in the development race.
“In fact in the last two years we’ve got better through the season, and I think the same thing will apply. But I’m not sure that you’re going to see the same big steps that we’ve seen in the past. We’re coming to the end of evolution of development. Of course there will be some things, but I don’t think there’s a big upgrade left in anyone’s cars. And soon people will have to start looking at 2014.
“We’ve just got to brush ourselves down from Adrian’s point of view, and with Paul just continue on, because he’s had a remarkable run. We’ve never had a bad car in Monaco, we’ve always done quite well there. And it’s encouraging for us that we could go to places like Shanghai and Barcelona, historically not our better tracks, and at both qualify and race in the top 10.”