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
CAR: Force India VJM09
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Laps Led: 0
Drivers’ Championship Positions: 9th (Sergio Perez); 10th (Nico Hulkenberg)
Constructors’ Championship Position: 5th
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.
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.