Sahara Force India F1 Team Deputy Team Principal Bob Fernley praised his team for securing a strong result at the Italian Grand Prix this weekend.
“A successful weekend in Monza with both cars in the points. The car has been competitive across all the sessions and it’s a credit to the whole team that we could convert our potential into a solid result.”
Fernley felt both his drivers did extremely well during the race to keep the squad in that crucial fourth place in the constructors standings.
Having started from third on the grid, Esteban Ocon was able to keep Williams Martini Racing drivers Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll, Force India’s closest rivals, behind him, which was an excellent result for the Silverstone based squad.
Although the young Frenchman was striving for more, Fernley says it would have been unrealistic to think the 20-year-old could battle with the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team or Scuderia Ferrari drivers, who had much faster pace than the VJM10 could muster.
“It was fairly clear that a one-stop strategy was the best approach today and both drivers drove strong races. Esteban ran as high as second after the start, but the pace of Mercedes and Ferrari proved too strong and he had to concentrate on fighting off the Williams’ pair.
A slow pit stop for driver Sergio Perez unfortunately cost him position on track, but he battled hard to regain that place, and although the Mexican was able to close to within four tenths of Massa, there were just not enough laps left in the race for Perez to catch him.
“Checo ran deep into the race on his super-soft tyres and in the final laps he was closing in on Massa. It was an exciting final lap, but ultimately he had to settle for ninth place.”
Fernley was pleased to end the European leg of the season with a strong result, and one that shows how well the car can perform when it is really put to the test. Now Force India will set their sights on Singapore, where they hope to continue with their solid run.
“It’s great to end the European part of the season on a high note and we begin the Asian fly-away races sitting in a strong fourth place in the championship.”