Otmar Szafnauer believes the Sahara Force India F1 Team will need to be in contention for podium finishes in 2018 if they want to hold on to their fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship they’ve secured for the past two seasons.
The chief operating officer of the Silverstone-based expects big gains to come from the likes of the Williams Martini Racing, McLaren F1 Team and the works Renault Sport Formula 1 Team in 2018, which will make their target of fourth much more difficult to achieve.
Szafnauer believes it will be necessary to close the gap on those in front of them to be in a position to maintain their own position, with Force India looking to add to their tally of podiums, the last of which came for Sergio Perez in the 2016 European Grand Prix.
“For us, it would be great if we could develop the car to such a point where we’ve got good potential for a few podiums,” said Szafnauer to RACER. “And if we achieve that and come closer to third but maintain fourth, I think that would be an objective that would be a big success for Force India.
“With McLaren and their new engine partner in Renault making strides, and Renault themselves pouring even more resources in and working hard to catch up, as well as Williams with Paddy Lowe and their new head of aero [Dirk de Beer], having their first car, it will be difficult for us to beat all three of those teams.
“If we do then I think we’ve got a good shot at finishing fourth, and to beat them, I think our car needs to have podium potential. So that’s a good objective, and that’s what we will set out to do.”