Force India has secured its best-ever finish in the Formula 1 constructors’ championship following Nico Hulkenberg’s run to sixth in Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
After a difficult off-season that saw Force India combat financial issues and fail to debut its new car until the final winter test, the team has since flourished, picking up regular points and even a podium finish in Russia courtesy of Sergio Perez.
Hulkenberg’s haul of eight points in Brazil on Sunday pulled Force India 47 clear of nearest-rivals Lotus, which with just 43 on offer at the final race in Abu Dhabi ensures that the team will finish fifth in the constructors’ championship, a new best.
“Everybody in the team is delighted that we have secured fifth place in the championship with a race to spare,” deputy team boss Bob Fernley said.
“It’s the reward for all the hard work put in by everyone back at the factory in Silverstone, at the wind tunnel, and here at the track. We have been through a lot this year, but we never let our target out of our sight and today we can celebrate.”
Hulkenberg fought back from a poor start to finish sixth at Interlagos, making an aggressive three-stop strategy work by managing his tires diligently throughout the race.
“The race today was fun, although I didn’t have the best start and got some wheel spin, which dropped me behind [Valtteri] Bottas and [Daniil] Kvyat,” Hulkenberg said.
“Fortunately I was able to get one of those places back with an aggressive early pit stop, but that forced me to do two very long stints on the medium tires, which was the main challenge of the day.
“We made it work, though, managing the tyres and delivering the two-stop strategy. I’m now looking forward to Abu Dhabi and ending the season on another high note.”
Teammate Sergio Perez had a tough race en route to P13, falling behind Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo late on to miss out on a possible points finish.
“It hasn’t been the best of weekends for me,” Perez admitted. “I have struggled to feel comfortable with the car from the start and I feel I didn’t go in the right direction with the set-up yesterday.
“Today was more or less the same so we will need to go back and analyse all the data from the weekend to address the issues before we arrive in Abu Dhabi.
“Today’s result, however, should take nothing away from what has been a great championship so far. The team has now finished fifth, so there are a lot of positives to celebrate.
“I am proud of what we achieved together this season and I am looking forward to aiming even higher in the future.”