Force India had to rebuff approaches from multiple rivals for its key personnel over the off-season, chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer has revealed.
After getting the better of a tight battle with Williams to secure fourth in the constructors’ championship for the first time in 2016, Force India impressed under new regulations last year to comfortably retain that position. Only once in its ten-year history has the team failed to at least match the previous year’s championship finish, and that run has seen a number of its members become targets for other outfits.
“We’ve had bigger and smaller teams approach us and try to usurp some of our key personnel,” Szafnauer told RACER. “But I’m happy to report that going into the new season we’ll have the same and we’ve added a few in some key areas as well.
“There’s always potential in every team – that’s how this business works. The better you do the more others will look at how you’re doing it and try to emulate or usurp some of your key employees.”
Szafnauer believes retaining those team members is a bigger advantage than it may appear as it allows Force India a better chance of continuing its recent momentum, with the driver line-up of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon also entering a second year together.
“We have made a few small changes on the track engineering side. We’ve bolstered our CFD capabilities as well, but I think most importantly the longer we have a stable team the more some of those weaknesses go away naturally because we retain our knowledge and we build on our success of years past. We don’t lose our knowledge of how we got there and we build on that to become better.
“So I think one of the keys to our success is stability in key personnel, and we’ve been able to have a pretty uninterrupted winter from a personnel perspective. That includes drivers.”