Force India rejoice at first world championship points 30 Aug 2009
Just as there are always frontrunners in Formula One racing, there are always backmarkers, and for the past two seasons Force India have almost always been the latter, struggling to make even the tiniest impression. But at Spa months of hard work finally came good and on Sunday the team enjoyed the spoils.
From their promising pace during practice, to Giancarlo Fisichellas astonishing pole position on Saturday, the ever-improving VJM02 looked quick all weekend. And during Sundays race Fisichella pushed Ferraris Kimi Raikkonen all the way to take a brilliant second place and with it the teams first-ever world championship points.
The Italian was understandably ecstatic, even though he thought he could have won: It's been another great day and it was an amazing result today. Before coming to Spa if you had asked all the team if we would have been happy to finish eighth we would have said it was a fantastic result but second is a dream, just great.
Actually if I can be honest I am a little disappointed as I felt we could have won the race. I was unlucky with the safety car when Kimi came past me at the restart and overtook me with the KERS. Actually behind him I was quicker but with the KERS I couldn't get past as it was impossible to be quick on the long straight.
Back in October 2007 the former Spyker team, which in previous incarnations had been Midland, and before that Jordan, was bought by a consortium led by Indian billionaire Dr Vijay Mallya and renamed Force India for the 2008 season. Their debut year, however, was tough, with Fisichella and team mate Adrian Sutil failing to score.
This season the teams development work has paid off, with the VJM02 looking stronger and stronger as each upgrade was added to the car. In Germany, Sutil came very close to scoring points, but a collision forced him into retirement. For team principal Mallya, finally breaking their duck couldnt have come sooner.
What a result, he said. I am so proud of this race. It's been a fantastic Saturday, fantastic race and to get our first podium and championship points is just unbelievable. We've worked so very hard to get this with a solid plan of upgrades coming through on the factory. Giancarlo drove a truly outstanding race. We can all be so proud of the entire effort.
With Fisichellas podium, Force India have overtaken Toro Rosso in the constructors standings and now lie ninth, just eight points adrift of eighth-placed Renault.