Formula 1 2017 team preview: Force India

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Force India’s rise continued in 2016 as it became the mightiest of Formula 1’s mighty midfielders, scoring its best-ever finish in the constructors’ championship by ending the year in an impressive fourth place.

Widely regarded as being one of F1’s best pound-for-pound teams, there is still plenty of scope for Force India to continue its growth as it looks to establish itself towards the front of the grid.

DRIVERS

11. Sergio Perez (Mexico)
31. Esteban Ocon (France)

CAR

Force India VJM10

ENGINE

Mercedes M08 EQ Power+

TEAM CHIEFS

Vijay Mallya (team principal/owner)
Bob Fernley (deputy team principal)
Otmar Szafnauer (chief operating officer)
Andrew Green (technical director)

MONTMELO, SPAIN – MARCH 10: Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Sahara Force India F1 Team VJM10 on track during the final day of Formula One winter testing at Circuit de Catalunya on March 10, 2017 in Montmelo, Spain. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

What went right in 2016: Quite a bit. Force India started the year trailing Williams in the pecking order but was able to pull ahead despite putting its 2016 car updates on hold rather early in the year. Sergio Perez was excellent throughout the year, taking two well-deserved podiums in Monaco and Baku. He was the stand-out star of the weekend in Azerbaijan. Nico Hulkenberg was consistent, and the team looked pretty comfortable in the race for fourth come the end of the year.

What went wrong in 2016: It’s hard to see where Force India could have done better last year. Its budget is one of the smallest on the grid, so to have beaten the likes of Williams and McLaren is a massive result. Hulkenberg was perhaps a little underwhelming at times, but otherwise, coming up squat here!

What’s changed for 2017: The charge to fourth in the constructors’ championship offered Force India a welcome boost in prize money, so things will be a bit easier on the financial front in 2017. Esteban Ocon has arrived from Manor following Hulkenberg’s switch to Renault. Ocon won the GP3 title in 2015 and is a Mercedes junior, so to see him racing in an upper-midfield car will be of interest. Oh, and the car is pink. Very pink.

What they’ll be looking to accomplish in 2017: More of the same. A breakthrough victory is really the next step Force India can take, and with the new technical regulations fresh for everyone, this is perhaps the team’s best chance of doing so. Tire management will become key once again, playing to the strengths of Perez, while Ocon has plenty of credentials from his junior career. Realistically, P4 in the constructors’ should be the aim once again with at least three podiums.

MONTMELO, SPAIN – MARCH 09: Esteban Ocon of France driving the (31) Sahara Force India F1 Team VJM10 on track during day three of Formula One winter testing at Circuit de Catalunya on March 9, 2017 in Montmelo, Spain. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

MST PREDICTIONS

Luke Smith: F1’s favorite midfield team really needs to be pushing for more of the same this year. The pace difference between the Mercedes/Red Bull/Ferrari triumvirate at the front of the field and the rest of the pack is great, so really, any race where Force India can finish better than P7 and P8 is a result. Fourth in the constructors’ should be the aim ahead of Williams, and I think it’s very achievable. Force India was consistent through testing and has pace in its pocket, so I’ll back Perez and Ocon to take a podium apiece this year en route to P4 in the constructors’ championship.

Tony DiZinno: The car’s design and livery – first in its launch livery and now later in its new pink, magenta and silver hue – have been more of the talking points this offseason than its on-track testing performance. Force India has arrived in the top four in the constructor’s championship, and the occasional surprise and overachieving isn’t going to be enough to keep it there. Sergio Perez is clear team leader and the pressure will be on Esteban Ocon to score enough points in his arrival here to keep them there. His mentality seems right for it though. A few more podiums and consistent top-six placings should be the goal.

Kyle Lavigne: Sahara Force India are possibly the most intriguing of the midfield teams. They enjoyed a solid 2016 season as the “best of the rest” behind Mercedes, Red Bull, and Ferrari. Their fourth place in the constructor’s championship was buoyed by a pair of podiums from Sergio Perez, who returns to the team alongside newcomer Esteban Ocon, who impressed in his testing outings. Force India did not show quite the same pace as the teams at the sharp end of the field, but they showed more than enough to be a genuine darkhorse for podium finishes, particularly if drivers from the “Big 3” stumble.

World of Outlaws release 2023 Sprint Car Series schedule

2023 Outlaws Sprint schedule
World of Outlaws
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The 2023 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series schedule features 87 races, almost identical to the last year’s number, to be contested at 36 venues across 19 states. With cancelations for mostly weather, they closed out this year’s calendar on November 5 with 69 events in the books. Carson Macedo won a series high 11 races.

In 2022, David Gravel chased Brad Sweet into the three-race finale on the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway in one of the most hotly contested championships in Outlaws history. Sweet emerged victorious for the fourth straight year.

For the 19th consecutive season, the Outlaws Sprints will begin their season at Volusia Speedway Park for the DIRTcar Nationals from Feb. 9-11 and will return March 5-6 for another two-day show before hitting the road with a three-track swing into Pennsylvania to take on the Posse.

MORE: 2023 World of Outlaws Late Model Schedule

“Every year we continue to build the best schedule we can for drivers and fans across the country,” said World of Outlaws CEO Brian Carter is a series release. “I’m excited for the journey we’ve put together, which includes the biggest races in Sprint Car racing, our new Spring Swing through Pennsylvania, the thrill of combining the World of Outlaws and ‘Bike Week’ and so much more.”

Some tracks returning from hiatus and one brand new course include 81 Speedway in Park City, Kans. in April and again in October, Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon City, Ill. in April, Ogilvie (Minn.) Raceway in June and BAPS Motor Speedway in York Haven, Penn.

BAPS hosts its first race in more than 30 years when the track was known as Susquehanna Speedway. This midweek show will give the local Pennsylvania Posse 14 attempts to beat the traveling Outlaws.

Ogilvie Speedway is completely new to the series and makes it the 224th different venue they will have challenged.

MORE: Brad Sweet protects his place in history

Notably missing from the calendar are Vado (N.M.) Speedway Park, Cotton Bowl Speedway in Paige, Texas, Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway and the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track.

In addition to the new spring Pennsylvania Swing, the second date at Volusia Speedway will coincide with Daytona Beach’s Bike Week and bring new eyes to the sport.

Knoxville Raceway adds another multi-night show to the calendar in April, giving this track eight sanctioned events in 2023.

And of course, there are plenty of mainstays and high dollar events, such as the Memorial Day Spectacular at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway, the 35th running of the Brad Doty Classic in July and the Labor Day Spectacular at Gray’s Harbor in Elma, Wash.

Several big paydays are on the line in 2023 including the 40th annual Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio paying $175,000 to the winner, the Huset’s High Bank Nationals’ $250,000-to-win finale and the grandaddy of them all, the 62nd Knoxville Nationals with a total purse exceeding $1 million.

2023 Outlaws Sprint Schedule

Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 9-11 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)

Sunday-Monday, March 5-6 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)
Friday-Saturday, March 10-11 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, March 17 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday, March 18 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday, March 24 – Talladega Short Track (Eastaboga, AL)
Saturday, March 25 – Magnolia Motor Speedway (Columbus, MS)
Friday, March 31-Saturday, April 1 – Devil’s Bowl Speedway (Mesquite, TX)

Friday, April 7 – US-36 Raceway (Osborn, MO)
Saturday, April 8 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, April 14-15 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Friday-Saturday, April 21-22 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday, April 28 – Tri-City Speedway (Granite City, IL)
Saturday, April 29 – Tri-State Speedway (Haubstadt, IN)

Friday-Saturday, May 5-6 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, May 10 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday-Saturday, May 12-13 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Friday, May 19 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Saturday, May 20 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, May 26-27 – Atomic Speedway (Chillicothe, OH)
Monday, May 29 – Lawrenceburg Speedway (Lawrenceburg, IN)

Friday, June 2 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, June 3 – Ogilvie Raceway (Ogilvie, MN)
Friday-Saturday, June 9-10 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday-Saturday, June 16-17 – Beaver Dam Raceway (Beaver Dam, WI)
Wednesday-Saturday, June 21-24 – Huset’s Speedway (Brandon, SD)
Friday, June 30-Saturday, July 1 – Cedar Lake Speedway (New Richmond, WI)

Friday, July 7 – 34 Raceway (West Burlington, IA)
Saturday, July 8 – Wilmot Raceway (Wilmot, WI)
Tuesday, July 11 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Friday-Saturday, July 14-15 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, July 19 – BAPS Motor Speedway (York Haven, PA)
Friday-Saturday, July 21-22 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday-Sunday, July 29-30 – Weedsport Speedway (Weedsport, NY)

Friday-Saturday, Aug. 4-5 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Wednesday-Saturday, Aug. 9-12 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 17-19 – Jackson Motorplex (Jackson, MN)
Friday, Aug. 25 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, Aug. 26 – Red River Valley Speedway (West Fargo, ND)
Thursday, Aug. 31-Saturday, September 2 – Skagit Speedway (Alger, WA)

Monday, Sept. 4 – Grays Harbor Raceway (Elma, WA)
Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 7-9 – Silver Dollar Speedway (Chico, CA)
Friday, Sept. 15 – Keller Auto Speedway (Hanford, CA)
Saturday, Sept. 16 – Placerville Speedway (Placerville, CA)
Friday, Sept. 22 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Saturday, Sept. 23 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, Sept. 29-30 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 6-7 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, Oct. 13 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Saturday, Oct. 14 – Lakeside Speedway (Kansas City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, Oct. 20-21 – TBA

Wednesday-Saturday, Nov. 1-4 – The Dirt Track at Charlotte (Concord, NC)