Haas F1 boss Guenther Steiner may feel Formula 1 no longer has a midfield but Force India still believes in it — and that it can lead it if it avoids issues during a race weekend.
Force India was the dominant midfield team last season, securing fourth place in the constructors’ championship by a comfortable margin. However, the team picked up just one point from the opening three rounds this season, leaving it playing catch up in the battle for best of the rest behind Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull.
The last two races have seen Force India record consecutive double-points finishes to move ahead of McLaren into sixth place in the standings, and Sergio Perez believes there is potential in the team’s car to beat Renault and Haas.
“I was happy to rescue a point last weekend in Silverstone after a big recovery,” Perez said, referencing a first-lap spin. “The main focus for Germany is to have a clean weekend, because if we maximize our performance we can be at the front of the midfield.
“There is a long way to go [11 races] and lots to play for. We are finding a bit more performance with each race and I still believe we can target fourth place in the championship.”
Team principal Vijay Mallya echoes Perez’s comments, with Force India now just two points behind Haas having picked up seven at Silverstone.
“It’s been satisfying to get both cars in the points for the last two races,” Mallya said. “It’s what we need to do for our fight in the constructors’ championship. Germany marks the halfway point in the season and it feels as though we have some momentum now. The updates we introduced in Silverstone helped and there’s more performance to be unlocked.
“We’ve been a bit unlucky in the first half of the season, especially getting caught up in first-lap incidents, so I think we are due a change in fortune. Scoring points in all of the remaining races is a realistic target, but I expect the midfield fight to get even closer in the races to come.”
Heading into this weekend’s German Grand Prix, Force India sits 21 points adrift of Renault in the battle for fourth place, but has scored more points (48) after the opening three rounds of the season than any team outside the top three.