Overshadowed, not outdone - Force Indias mid-season report 22 Aug 2012
In any other year Force India would have been celebrating their achievements so far this season, but the sheer competiveness of the 2012 field has obscured the teams progress. Fourth on the grid in Germany and a fifth-place finish in Valencia have been standout performances. However, with fellow midfielders scoring podiums and even winning races, its easy to fade into the background. Force India are a team in waiting. They know they can do something special, but with the frontrunners finally finding their feet after the unpredictable start to the year, have they lost their chance?
Season in numbers
Constructors standings: 8th, 46 points
Drivers standings: Paul di Resta (13th, 27 points), Nico Hulkenberg (16th, 19 points)
Highest 2012 qualifying: 5th (Hulkenberg, Germany)
Highest 2012 finish: 5th (Hulkenberg, Europe)
After looking pretty strong in pre-season testing, the Mercedes-powered VJM05 has largely lived up to its billing, showing plenty of promise and scoring almost double the number of points the team had clinched at this stage last year. It hasnt all been smooth sailing though. Unlike Spanish race winners Williams and two-time podium visitors Sauber, Force India are yet to finish higher than fifth. And with their traditional midfield rivals taking such significant strides, any progress they have made has been overshadowed. This means that despite their own points success, they are a disappointing eighth in the constructors table. Last year they were seventh. Theres still a long way to go, though, and with the campaigns of both Sauber and Williams losing momentum recently, Force India may yet emerge as the best midfielders.
Slowly and surely from their modest beginning as the resuscitated Spyker squad back in 2008, Force India have been making inroads through the midfield, aided by a relatively stable management structure. 2012 started with a welcome injection of funds courtesy of the Sahara Group and a talented and dedicated crew at their Silverstone factory are surely destined to be rewarded with better on-track results.
With Di Resta and Hulkenberg both starting the season with a year of F1 race experience under their belts, this line-up was predicted to be one of the most closely-matched on the grid - and so it has proved. As discussed, both have struggled to make a consistent impression in such a tight field, but each has had the chance to shine with Hulkenbergs fourth on the grid at his home race in Hockenheim and Di Restas sixth place in Bahrain two highlights. Like their rivals, the duo is dependent on their car to continue to impress and so they must pin their hopes on an improved package for the seasons second leg.
What they say: We will take the positives and try to understand where we can find more performance so that we can come back stronger after the summer break. Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal & Managing Director
What we say: The real progress made has been eclipsed by the success of Sauber and Williams. But whereas their traditional rivals have faltered slightly of late, Force Indias campaign may have longevity.
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