Force India’s Otmar Szafnauer: Fourteen Points “a nice way to celebrate our 200th race”

by Paul Hensby
Esteban Ocon & Sergio Perez - Sahara Force India F1 Team - Austrian Grand Prix

Otmar Szafnauer was pleased with the way his Sahara Force India F1 Team turned their weekend around on Sunday, with Esteban Ocon and Sergio Pérez finishing sixth and seventh in the Austrian Grand Prix on the teams two-hundredth race weekend.

Neither driver started inside the top ten at the Red Bull Ring but both stayed out of trouble, and were in the right place to capitalise on the retirements ahead of them to claim fourteen points, and the drivers even had time to switch places to allow Pérez a shot at passing Kevin Magnussen for fifth in the closing laps before Ocon regained his position on the final lap when it was clear the Dane was not going to be caught.

“Today’s result represents a very well executed race by the entire team,” said Chief Operating Officer Szafnauer.  “We kept out of trouble in the opening laps and then made some excellent calls from the pit wall to keep Esteban and Sergio in contention for points.

“The race pace was solid and Esteban and Sergio worked well together as we tried to chase down Magnussen.”

Szafnauer admitted it was satisfying to see the team fight back as they did after struggling for performance on Friday and Saturday at the Red Bull Ring, with the points they scored moving them to within two of the McLaren F1 Team in the Constructors’ Championship.

Although the fourth and fifth place finishes for Romain Grosjean and Magnussen for the Haas F1 Team moved them ahead of both teams into fifth, Szafnauer was happy to see both cars score points to celebrate their two-hundredth Grand Prix.

“To score 14 points from a weekend where we didn’t optimise our Friday and Saturday sessions helps make today’s performance more satisfying and is a nice way to celebrate our 200th race as Force India,” said Szafnauer.

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