Sahara Force India F1 Team Deputy Team Principal Robert Fernley revealed the team are not shocked about the failure of both cars making it into Saturday’s third qualifying session at the Albert Park circuit.
Force India’s drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon qualified thirteenth and fifteenth respectively, the former missing the gap to the third qualifying session by nearly half a second. Though the team made it into the third qualifying session in over half of the possible opportunities last year, Fernley said the team aren’t surprised about the failure to do so today – citing last year’s qualifying positions of eleventh and fourteenth as proof.
“In reality our performance today was not dissimilar to our qualifying result here twelve months ago and it’s not a massive surprise to miss out on the top ten today,” said Fernley.
“We’ve introduced a significant upgrade package and only fitted it to the cars for the first time yesterday so we’re on a steep learning curve at the moment. It’s delivering performance, but we know there’s more potential to come from it in the races ahead.
“We’ve shown promising long run pace in testing and yesterday so hopefully we can demonstrate that tomorrow and get some points on the board, as we did last year.”
Despite missing out on the top ten last year, Perez and Ocon raced to seventh and tenth in Australia in 2017, netting Force India seven points, which will give them a boost of confidence heading into this years race.