Japanese GP: Force India aiming for podium finish at Suzuka
By Berthold Bouman
Two fourth places for Force India this season, Paul di Resta was fourth in Singapore, while his team colleague Nico Hulkenberg took fourth place at Spa-Francorchamps, the next logical step would be a podium finish during one of the final six races of the season.
Team Principal Vijay Mallya is still confident and commented, “As I’ve said before that little bit of luck has eluded us. Hopefully it will come to us one day, because we’ve shown the pace of the car. This is the second time we’ve finished fourth in the last three races, so we’re becoming the bridesmaid a bit too often!”
Force India is still aiming for sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship, the Indian team is currently seventh, 26 points behind rival Sauber, but 21 points ahead of their other rival Williams, who have so far gathered 54 points. “It’s not bad to be sitting at this stage of the season with 75 points in total — we’ve come a long way,” said Mallya.
Asked whether his team is still on target he replied, “I still remember the situation in 2010 when Williams pipped us by one point at the last race, so I guess it’s not over until it’s over! I’m still hoping that we can do it and one strong podium finish could help to wipe out Sauber’s advantage. It all depends how strong our rivals are in the final six races, but we certainly have some momentum.”
German Nico Hulkenberg doesn’t have good memories of the Suzuka circuit, and stated, “My race in 2010 with Williams was not especially memorable because I was taken out before the first corner. That was a real shame because it’s a track I really enjoy and with corners like the ‘S’ curves it’s a great experience in a Formula One car.”
He describes the main challenges of this very fast, but also technical circuit, from a driver’s point of view, “Suzuka is definitely one of my favourite circuits: it’s really challenging and technical, and you need a good car balance to hook up a good lap. Because it’s so technical it’s important to find a good rhythm because if you mess up one corner you can lose the flow of the whole lap.”
Hulkenberg’s main goal this weekend will be scoring points, “I’m feeling positive and we have generated some good momentum within the team recently so I want to keep that going. The goal is to keep getting consistent results in the points.”
Video: Paul Di Resta sums up the challenge of the classic Suzuka circuit ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix