Sahara Force India F1 Team is focusing on closing the gap to the top three teams in 2018 rather than defending it’s fourth place in the constructors championship.
The Silverstone based team finished over 100 points ahead of rivals Williams Martini Racing in the championship last year with Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, to equal their best finish from 2016.
Force India’s technical director Andy Green said to Racer that he sees the top three teams of Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team, Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari as examples of how much the team needs to improve.
“The challenge gets tougher every year,” said Green. “We expect that, so we’ll try and do an even better job [in 2018].
“We are building year on year. We are still learning, we’ve still got a long way to go. If you see the guys ahead of us, they are still a long way ahead, so there’s still a lot to be gained. That’s our target, to close that gap to the top three teams.”
Last year, Force India managed to reach Qualifying 3 at all but four races, and only once they achieved a lap time less than a second from pole position at the Mexican Grand Prix.
The likes of McLaren and Renault Sport F1 Team are expected to improve in 2018 over the winter period, chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer agrees with Green’s views, saying the target remains realistic even for a smaller budget team like Force India.
“We hope we can catch up, that’s the hope,” Szafnauer added. “The fact that you know that that lap time is doable, it’s out there, we just have to find it.”
Force India haven’t achieved a podium finish since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, where Sergio Perez accomplished a 3rd place finished behind Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel.