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F1 2016 Team Preview: Force India

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Entering its ninth season in Formula 1, Force India acts as evidence that backmarkers needn’t be backmarkers forever. Vijay Mallya’s team has grown in strength over the years to become one of the ‘upper-midfield’ teams in F1, and enjoyed its best season in the series last year by finishing fifth in the constructors’ championship.

Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg have both proven themselves to be two of F1’s unsung heroes over the past few years, combining for one of the most balanced line-ups on the grid. Could they lead Force India to bigger and better things in 2016?

TEAM: Sahara Force India F1 Team
ENGINE: Mercedes
CAR: Force India VJM09

2015 STATS

Races: 19
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 136
Laps Led: 0
Drivers’ Championship Positions: 9th (Sergio Perez); 10th (Nico Hulkenberg)
Constructors’ Championship Position: 5th

2016 LINE-UP

11. Sergio Perez (MEX)
27. Nico Hulkenberg (GER)

2015 TEAM RECAP

Force India’s 2015 was a strange one. Although it failed to score any truly major results early on, it picked up points consistently while rivals Lotus, Toro Rosso, Sauber and McLaren all struggled. Despite debuting the 2015 car late and not introducing a B-spec until Silverstone due to financial issues, Force India showed enormous resolve to become a big threat towards the end of the season. Sergio Perez’s podium finish in Russia was just the third in the history of Force India, and arguably, the team ended the year third-fastest behind Mercedes and Ferrari. By far Force India’s best F1 season so far.

2016 OUTLOOK

Just as other teams may struggle to move any further up the grid in 2016 due to the stability of the technical regulations, Force India will most likely be targeting to finish in the top five once again. The new car looked quick in testing, and with the troubles of 2015 now a distant memory, this should be a less complicated year for the team. It will be interesting to see how Force India compares to the other major Mercedes customer team, Williams, and with Red Bull set to struggle early on, there is an opportunity for some big results in the first few races. A lofty target would be picking up where it left off in 2015 as the third-fastest team – but it’s by no means unimaginable.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.