Sahara Force India F1 Team Deputy Team Principal, Robert Fernley, was disappointed the squad could not take advantage of having the fourth quickest car on the grid, at the 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday.
Driver Esteban Ocon made an early exit from the action when he was collected by Haas F1 Team driver Romain Grosjean, who lost control of his VF17 before launching into the side of his fellow countryman.
The incident brought Ocon’s run of races without retirement to an end, which Fernley says was massively unlucky and completely out of the Frenchman’s hands.
“It was disappointing to see Esteban’s fantastic run of consecutive finishes come to an end on the opening lap.
“He was tapped into a spin as he was making a move on Grosjean into turn six: there was nothing he could really do to avoid the incident because he was simply the innocent victim of another driver’s mistake.”
Team-mate Sergio Perez also had an eventful start, losing position as he was run wide by McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team driver Fernando Alonso, compromising his race. Despite the Mexican’s best efforts to look after his tyres, although he was able to close right up to the back of the Spaniard in the final few laps of the race, he was unable to get by.
“Being pushed wide at turn two by Alonso compromised Checo’s race as both Alonso and Massa were able to come past him before the Safety Car was deployed.
“Checo conserved his tyres well on an alternative strategy and got very close to Alonso and Massa at the end, but ultimately wasn’t able to overtake them.”
A ninth place finish for Perez was the best Force India could achieve this weekend, and now Fernley has his sights firmly focused on ending the 2017 season in style, at the final race of the year in Abu Dhabi.
“Despite having the fourth quickest car, we’ve not been able to maximise our results today so we will look ahead to Abu Dhabi, determined to end our most successful season to date on a high note.”