Force India will take risks with its car development in the final two races to better prepare for 2018 after securing fourth place in the constructors’ championship this season.
Having beaten Williams to fourth place in a close battle last year, Force India delivered a strong performance under the new aerodynamic regulations to clearly mark itself out as the fourth-quickest team. Its 16th double-points finish in the Mexican Grand Prix was enough to secure the position in the constructors’ championship with two races to spare and chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer says that will allow a different approach for the rest of the season.
“I think it is a great achievement for the team but what we’ve got to do is utilize the fact we’ve done it to our advantage,” Szafnauer said. “We’ve got to think differently in the next few races and do experiments and things differently that will help for next year at the expense of this year because this year doesn’t matter now.
“We’re going to go back and plan for the next two races maybe a bit differently. Maybe there are some components that we want to try and are a bit more risky so we can go ahead and try them. If we lose some time on a Friday big deal. That kind of stuff.
“We will hopefully gain for next year at the expense of this year because the expense of this year is meaningless. But the gain for next year will be meaningful.”
On top of the points that cemented the constructors’ championship position, Szafnauer says the performance in Mexico – where Esteban Ocon finished fifth and Sergio Perez seventh – was also good from a sponsorship point of view for the team.
“I think a lot of the sponsors enjoyed it. We got good coverage and rightly so we are in battles the whole time and running third for a long time. I expected [Max] Verstappen to blow up too and that didn’t happen. We are in the thick of it which the sponsors like as well as supporters, Mexican fans, Checo’s family. It was a good race for us.”
Only Mercedes has scored points with both cars more often than Force India this year, with Valtteri Bottas’ retirement in Barcelona the only time a Mercedes has failed to finish in the top 10.