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Overshadowed, not outdone - Force India's mid-season report 22 Aug 2012

Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India F1 VJM05.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 11 May 2012 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM05.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Practice, Silverstone, England, Friday, 6 July 2012 Nico Hulkenburg (GER) Force India F1 Team on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Race, Montreal, Canada, Sunday, 10 June 2012 Force India F1 VJM05 nose and front wings.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix Qualifying, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Saturday, 21 April 2012 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM05.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 12 May 2012 Dr. Vijay Mallya (IND) Force India Formula One Team Owner.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Budapest, Hungary, Friday, 27 July 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 team’s 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, it’s 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 hasn’t 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. There’s 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 Hulkenberg’s fourth on the grid at his home race in Hockenheim and Di Resta’s 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 season’s 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 India’s campaign may have longevity.

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