Force India has made a strong start to the Formula One season, scoring points in all three races, and their German driver Adrian Sutil said the team has the potential to start higher up on the grid and maintain their position as top-10 finishers.
Sutil had two disappointing races at Bahrain and Melbourne, where he qualified inside the top-10, but failed to earn points. The story was however different at last week’s Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang where a determined Sutil drove Force India to a brilliant fifth-place finish.
Before that Vitantonio Liuzzi had finished ninth in Bahrain and seventh in Melbourne to give Force India a great start.
Force India are at sixth place in constructor standing with 18 points from three races.
“It has been a very good season so far because we have scored points in every race. It just shows we did a very good job over the winter. We improved our car and we are now a consistent top-10 runner.
“It depends on the conditions, but I think we can go even more forward in the grid. We showed our potential in Malaysia and we want to continue like that and score a few more points this year in a lot more races,” Sutil said.
Sutil said they are concentrating on improving the aerodynamical efficiency of the car.
“It’s just the downforce, in F1 you’re always looking to improve the downforce. That’s what Red Bull has at the moment, they have so much grip in the corners and that’s why they are so fast.
“Our car is very easy and nice to drive, it has a good balance we just need to improve the downforce a little bit. We are very close to the top teams and we’re getting a new upgrade for the European races, hopefully it will help us to get a few positions.”
In Sepang circuit, Sutil manoeuvred the car well with Lewis Hamilton breathing down his neck.
Hamilton starting at 20th position, drove with power in the opening laps, climbing as high as second at one point, but eventually had to settle for sixth with Sutil holding off the Briton in McLaren in the latter stages.
“It was not easy against McLaren because they have one of the best cars in the field, especially during the Malaysian weekend, McLaren was strong. But I knew my race performance is pretty good. I had to push on in the last 20 laps, because he (Hamilton) got the advantage of the soft tyres until five laps to go when his tyres were going off a little bit.
“But there was no problem really to keep my position. Of course he (Hamilton) put a little bit of pressure, but I had a good car in a straight line and I knew without any mistakes there was no chance for Lewis to pass me.”
Sutil thanked his team for their efforts.
“The team did a fantastic job the whole weekend. We had a great qualifying, getting position four on the grid and in the race I was fighting against the big cars. It was a great achievement for the team.”