Dr Vijay Mallya believes that Force India can target podium finishes in 2010, after the team scored its first points of the season in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Although Adrian Sutil’s chances were compromised after a collision with the Renault of Robert Kubica at the start, team-mate Tonio Liuzzi drove a determined race to finish in ninth place, and claim two points for the Silverstone-based team.
“I m obviously very pleased, despite what happened to Adrian at the start.” the Force India owner told his team’s website, “For this team, given our history and background, to score points in the first race is quite a remarkable effort.”
“But I think even more so two things have made a very significant impression on me. First is our race pace. I think that s a huge statement for a relatively small team like us.
“The second is there s been so much spoken about Tonio. He s not just proved himself, but I think he drove beautifully. He preserved his tyres well, he was quick, and he brought the car home in the points. So all credit goes to Tonio.”
Following such a strong outing for the team, Mallya believes that Force India should continue to aim to score points and fight for the podium when given the opportunity.
“This year I said we should score points regularly. We have opened our account in the first race and I think the opportunity is wide open for us to now score points regularly.” The Indian continued.
“I wouldn t be surprised if we could target the odd podium or two. And next year we should hopefully strongly target podium finishes.”
Mallya is also erring on the side of caution in regards to this season’s new rules and believes that they must be given more time.
“It s hard to tell from one race and everybody was faced with a guessing game.” he added, “We didn t know how long the tyres would last in the race, and there was no data to really base any proper judgement on. We need to give the regulations a change to prove themselves and for people to learn how to use them.”
“To change everything after just one race is a knee-jerk reaction, let s see how it goes in Australia and Malaysia and make an informed decision about whether we do need to react to improve the Formula 1 show. If we do then at least we have more information to make an proper call.”