Force India’s Robert Fernley: “We didn’t have the pace this weekend”

Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Robert Fernley, the deputy team principal of Sahara Force India F1 Team, admitted they did not have the pace at Albert Park to get into the points on Sunday.

The Force India’s finished eleventh and twelfth with Sergio Perez more than thirteen seconds ahead of Esteban Ocon, meaning the team failed to score points for the first time since the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix.

“Ultimately we didn’t have the pace this weekend to fight in the top ten and so we’ve ended our day on the cusp of the points,” said Fernley. “It’s early days in the season and with twenty races to go there will be plenty of opportunities to develop the car and show our strengths.

“Both drivers drove well today, but the luck didn’t play into our hands with the timing of the safety car for example.”

Perez finished just over a second away from the points as he chased down the Renault Sport Formula One Team car of Carlos Sainz Jr. in the closing stages of the race, but Fernley said the difficulty in following another car made it extremely hard for the Mexican to get close enough to make an overtaking attempt.

“Following other cars closely was tough and Sergio was right on the tail of Sainz in the final few laps but there was no way to overtake,” said Fernley.  “We will work hard to be stronger at the next race in Bahrain.”