Chief Operating Officer of the Sahara Force India F1 Team Otmar Szafnauer has dubbed his team’s development rate over the course of 2017 as “remarkable”.
Despite wholesale changes to the rulebook for 2017, Force India finished in the top four of the Constructors’ Championship for the second year running whilst improving on their 2016 points tally – affirming their status as the most cost-efficient team in the series.
“The season was fabulous,” Szafnauer reflected. “I don’t think we could have hoped for anything more.”
“[This was] probably the biggest rule change in the last 15 or so years in Formula 1 – and for a small team to take on those changes and perform like we’ve performed I think is a tremendous accolade for everybody that works for us.”
Szafnauer, now approaching his ninth full season with Force India, expressed his surprise and delight with his team’s ability to keep pace with the larger, more affluent teams such as the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team, Scuderia Ferrari and Red Bull Racing.
“I think the biggest thing is the fact that we were able to continue developing at the same rate as some of the big guys.”
“That was something that was remarkable. We’ve got to thank everybody at the factory because that’s where the real development work happens. [At the track] we showcase it.”
Despite a few notable on-track collisions that placed team harmony under scrutiny, Sergio Pérez and Mercedes’ young French prospect Esteban Ocon retain their seats for 2018.