Robert Fernley believes Sahara Force India F1 Team can repeat their performance from the 2016 Formula 1 season and attempt to secure third place in 2017.
Thanks to the strong performance from Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, the Silverstone-based outfit were able to secure fourth in the Constructors’ Championship. This was their best ever finish, with the team beating Williams Martini Racing by thirty-five points.
For Force India the first aim is to match their previous result, but Deputy Team Principal Fernley believes they could even go one better this season.
“This year we went in with a very clear view of being able to consolidate fifth place but with an eye on fourth,” said Fernley to F1i.com. “I think we should go in next year with a plan to consolidate fourth but with an eye on third.”
With restrictions on aerodynamic testing in the current regulations, Fernley believes this gives smaller teams a better chance at the start of the season. Matching their technical team against the bigger teams, who have the advantage because of their investment.
“There are two elements to it,” added Fernley. “One is that on one hand this will be the first new generation of car we do under restricted aero programs.
“Whilst the bigger teams still have an advantage because of their investment in the wind tunnels, it’s nowhere near what it has been, so it’s a more level playing field in that sense. So I would match our technical team against them.
“Where the bigger teams will benefit is it will be a development race and they can keep throwing things at it because they’ve got unlimited budgets, effectively. You just throw things at it all the time, whereas our approach will have to be more measured and we will have to make each development count.”