Sergio Perez is hoping Force India will start getting luckier in races – starting with this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix – after noticing progress from the team since the first race of the season.
Force India heavily updated its car at the opening race and was still learning about its upgrade in Melbourne, failing to score points after dropping out in Q2. Bahrain saw a step forward but contact for Perez on the opening lap prevented him scoring, although teammate Esteban Ocon picked up the team’s first point in tenth. After another solid showing in China again didn’t yield a top-ten finish, Perez believes the team should have more to show from its recent level of competitiveness.
“The first few races haven’t gone very smoothly for me,” Perez said. “I think I’ve been unlucky, especially in Bahrain, but I know it sometimes happens in racing. The last race in China was really disappointing because I lost out on lap one and there was no way to recover to the points. Our pace was competitive and we took another step forward with the car performance, but things just didn’t work out on race day.
“The progress we have made since Melbourne was visible in Shanghai and I’m feeling happier with the balance of the car now. We are catching up and getting back to our normal position. I think Baku will be interesting because it’s all about good top speed and being confident on the brakes. I love the challenge of street tracks and I really enjoy driving in Baku.”
With more small updates in Baku, Ocon agrees that points have to be the target for both cars after Force India rectified a correlation issue between its simulation tools and the track.
“Baku is definitely a great chance for us to score points,” Ocon said. “The car is improving with each race and I can see how hard everybody is working to find more performance. At every race this year we’ve had new items to test and it’s the same this weekend.
“It’s still early days in the season and if we can unlock the potential in the car I think we can be up there fighting consistently at the front of the midfield.”