Vijay Mallya, the team principal of the Sahara Force India F1 Team, says he is encouraged by the way the Silverstone-based outfit has come back fighting in recent races after a tough start to the season, with the VJM11 having scored points in the past four Grand Prix.
Only one point was scored in the opening three races but their season started to turn around at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, when Sergio Pérez scored a surprise podium, while Esteban Ocon has scored points in the past two races to move Force India up to sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship, twelve points behind the McLaren F1 Team.
Mallya acknowledges better results and more points have been lost this year, with Force India’s results in the Canadian Grand Prix two weeks ago a prime example, with Ocon losing an almost certain seventh place with a slow pit stop that relegated him to ninth, while Pérez lost a top ten finish after early contact with Carlos Sainz Jr.
“After a third of the 2018 season, it’s encouraging to see the progress we have made since Melbourne,” said Mallya. “We are reaching Q3 regularly with both cars and picking up good points.
“There have been lost opportunities and we should have scored many more points, but it feels like our season is properly up and running.”
Mallya has joined the chorus of those pleased to see the French Grand Prix back on the calendar after a ten-year hiatus, and it gives his driver Ocon to race in Formula 1 in front of his home fans for the first time.
“It’s great to see Formula 1 returning to France,” said Mallya. “The sport needs its traditional European races and it’s going to be a big weekend for Esteban racing on home ground for the first time.”