Force India F1 Team
No. 27 Nico Hulkenberg
No. 11 Sergio Perez
First Race: 2008 Australian Grand Prix
Grands Prix: 131
Pole Positions: 1
Fastest Laps: 3
Race Wins: 0
Best Constructors’ Championship Finish: 6th (2011, 2013, 2014)
2014 Championship Result: 6th (155 points)
Following a breakthrough year that saw it finish with a record number of points and nearly beat McLaren, it seems odd that Force India enters 2015 with a cloud over its head. Financial constraints have hampered its progress over the winter, limiting the team to just two-and-a-half days of on-track running with its 2015 car during pre-season testing. Although the VJM08 enjoyed a good first outing, there is no doubt that Force India is a step or two behind the rest of the field heading to Melbourne next weekend.
It is a shame, for this could have been a big year for the team. In Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, Force India has one of the most balanced and exciting line-ups on the grid, and would have been entering the new season with hopes of podium finishes and perhaps even a surprise race win should the stars align. Instead, it will have to simply focus on finding its feet in the first few races of the year, and beyond that, it is hard to say what the team is capable of in 2015. A midfield scrap with Lotus and Toro Rosso is perhaps the best bet here.
NICO HULKENBERG No. 27
Hulkenberg had limited laps before the third and final preseason test, which marked the first time Force India got out with its new VJM08 chassis. Few doubt his overall talent, but Hulkenberg needs a monster year if he is going to avoid the perpetual life in the midfield. Last year he was great in the first half, but tailed off a bit in the second half. Now, as he dovetails with two early season races in the Porsche 919 Hybrid in LMP1, it will be interesting to see if it affects his day job.
SERGIO PEREZ No. 11
Perez’s mileage was even more limited than Hulkenberg’s, getting just a single day behind the wheel of the VJM08 in Barcelona. The Mexican driver had a solid 2014, scoring just the second ever podium in Force India’s history in Bahrain, but he’ll face a tough task to do this once again in 2015. However, he will be flying the flag at the returning Mexican Grand Prix in November, and will be hoping that his excellent tire-management skills can make up for the setbacks Force India has faced over the winter.