Wednesday, August 19, 2015

1 Racing Mind 2015 Formula 1 Mid-season Report Card: Sahara Force India

Photo Credit: Sahara Force India F1 Team

Team Score: C


Sergio Perez: C

Nico Hulkenberg: C

Three of the mid-marker teams in the sport are separated by just 8 points after 10 races. Leading the tight collection of constructors is Sahara Force India. Since the team's entry into Formula 1 in 2008, Force India has maintained a holding pattern within the middle of the Formula 1 grid. Before the 2015 season started, the team had many advantages on paper. Mercedes-Benz power units, adequate sponsorship as well as a driver line-up consisting of two talented wheelmen Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg were aces found with front-running Formula 1 organizations. However, 2015 has done little to nothing to advance the team to the next level.

An equally matched driver line-up that was resigned for a second-consecutive year, Force India's Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg has each shown strength in Formula 1 in past seasons. The 2015 tour has proven challenging to a qualified driver's morale.

For Nico Hulkenberg, his strength as a professional superstar driver was demonstrated at this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car race with Porsche. A confidence boost for the German driver who only collected 24 points in the first 10 races of the 2015 Formula 1 season. In previous Formula 1 seasons with other teams, Hulkenberg made a name for himself by extracting great finishes from vehicles perceived to be weaker. Hulkenberg obtained the team's top finish in Austria with a sixth-place run and has a nine-point advantage on Perez in the drivers' standing. Sergio Perez's season in the #11 Force India-Mercedes has as the German driver topped by a seventh-place result at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Development for this season's Force India chassis has likely played a part in some lackluster efforts. The VJM08 race car was prepared later in pre-season Formula 1 testing due to changes in the way the team built the 2015 vehicle.

Ingredients for Second-Half of 2015:

Since the British Grand Prix, Sahara Force India has been competing with an updated VJM08B chassis. Launched successfully with a double-point finish at Silverstone, two retirements at the following event in Hungary resulted in only the second and third DNFs for the team in 2015. Discounting the Hungarian Grand Prix, early feedback about the refitted car is positive from the team and drivers. Faster circuits should provide Force India with an opportunity to utilize their Mercedes-Benz powerplants.

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