|© Force India
Sahara Force India has done its homework ahead of the season but insists that the long Formula 1 calendar will leave the team with much work to do as its campaign progresses.
Both Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil scored in the season-opener in Australia and looked set for another strong points finish in Malaysia, before a wheel-nut issue halted the charge of the duo in Sepang.
But its fifth place in the constructors’ championship ahead of this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix has validated that it is the strongest team among the mid-field contenders, with its drivers keeping faith in the work the team has done in deciphering the Pirellis.
“I think they are better than the first few days of winter testing,” said di Resta, who had struggled with the tyres in the latter half of last season.
“You can always maximise performance and ultimately you start on the worst side and you improve slowly and slowly but you have to balance that with on-track performance - equally with low and high fuel loads,” the Scot explained to F1Pulse.com.
“That was the focus of winter testing and that's what made the difference. We understood the tyres from a very early stage,” he pointed out.
It’s no secret that Force India has gained significantly from the troubled times McLaren has been in this year, but the Silverstone-based outfit is working with the knowledge that the scenario may soon change.
“We're not silly enough to know that they have great resources. They expect much more than we do,” di Resta said during a press conference over the phone.
Sutil’s surprising performance has also contributed to Force India’s show in the first two races, despite missing the whole of last season and with a late appearance in the pre-season tests in Spain.
“I just drove as fast as possible. I felt good in the car,” Sutil told F1Pulse.com. “I didn't forget how to drive a car quickly around a circuit.
“For sure, maybe here and there I can improve. I am always learning. I am quite satisfied and happy with the performance but I want more and I am working for that the whole time,” said the 30-year-old.