Mallya: second successive fourth place “no accident”

Credit: Sahara Force India Formula One Team

Ahead of this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Sahara Force India F1 Team boss Vijay Mallya has paid glowing tribute to his squad following such a successful campaign. The Silverstone-based outfit wrapped-up the battle for fourth in the constructors’ standings following the Mexican Grand Prix, and has consistently been best-of-the-rest behind the top three teams.

“I can’t stress just how proud I am of our achievements. Claiming fourth place in the World Championship for two consecutive years doesn’t happen by accident and I have to pay tribute to each and every one of the 400 staff who played their part in making it possible.”

Force India has retained a tight grip on its standing in fourth in the constructors’ championship despite a significant regulation change and having lost Nico Hulkenberg to Renault, and has actually extended its advantage over fifth-placed team Williams Martini Racing.

Mallya acknowledges that wrapping-up the battle for fourth so early has allowed the squad to experiment with a view to 2018: “Of course, the focus is firmly on 2018 and we will continue experimenting with different things on the car this weekend.

“We will also continue running George Russell in Friday practice. We have usually been competitive in Abu Dhabi and it’s important to end the season well before the start of a busy winter finalising a new car for 2018.”

GP3 champion, Russell, is set to dovetail the GP3 finale with a run in Free Practice 1, in place of Esteban Ocon. The Brit is believed to be on the cusp of being announced as Force India’s reserve driver for 2018.