It's not hard to reason this one but you migh...
The 2012 Formula 1 season is already underway, and after an exciting Australian Grand Prix, it appears as though we're in for quite a year.
Force India put in a reasonable showing at the Australian GP, with British driver Paul Di Resta finishing tenth at Albert Park in Melbourne on Sunday, while German Nico Hulkenberg, who was starting ninth on the grid, was forced to retire early in the race after being hit from behind by another car during a first round melee.
So now is as good a time as any to take a closer look at the Sahara Force India team, which finished in sixth position last year and is hoping to do one better this year.
Based in Silverstone in the United Kingdom, Sahara Force India is the latest avatar of what once used to be Jordan Grand Prix--the same team that once housed the likes of Damon Hill, Eddie Irvine and even Michael Schumacher. In 2005, this team was renamed Midland F1 Racing after it was bought over by the owner of the Midland Group.
However, this team was bought out by a Dutch automaker called Spyker Cars in 2007, and rechristened Spyker F1. Even this was to be a short-lived change as Vijay Mallya and Michiel Mol bought this team for 90 million Euros and formed Force India. In 2011, Sahara India Pariwar bought 42.5% of the team's shares for $100 million and the team is now known as Sahara Force India.
Given the competitive F1 field--which features traditional powerhouses like McLaren and Ferrari, and capable upstarts like Red Bull Racing--the odds are heavily stacked against new teams like Force India. Far from title aspirations, this team is currently trying to gradually move up the ladder and become relevant for a start.
Since 2008, when Force India finished in 10th place, it has made steady progress and the team even placed sixth last year.
Given that the experienced Adrian Sutil is out of action following his conviction in a nightclub assault case, Paul di Resta will be joined by Nico Hulkenberg in 2012. Both these drivers have driven in only 19 F1 races each; however, both of them have shown promise in their brief stints at the wheel.
While di Resta was racing in Force India colors last season, Hulkenberg--who was with Williams in 2010--was the reserve driver last year. However, the 25-year-old German is confident about his abilities and his team's chances.
"The nature of Formula 1 is competitive, I'm competitive. I want to race against the best drivers in the world. And I think we've got a few of those in the field now. So it's good," said Hulkenberg. "On a personal front my goal is to establish myself in Formula 1 and to enjoy racing again after a gap of one year."
Meanwhile di Resta, who's in his third season with the team, is also confident that Force India will be competitive this year. Despite Sutil's absence, he feels that the team is well-balanced.
"There's no No. 1 and No. 2 in the team. Nico and I work well together, we're good friends and we understand each other. I'm looking forward to it," said di Resta. "It's a driver line-up everyone in Formula 1 will be looking at closely."
Sahara Force India launched the VJM05 earlier this year. This car will run on the latest Pirelli tyres, and has a stepped nose similar to Ferrari's F2012. The engine on this car is made by Mclaren--just like it was last year.
Before the season began, Nico Hulkenberg seemed happy with the constitution of the car; however, he did mention that it was too early in the day to know exactly how the VJM05 would fare against the rest of the field.
"It's a bit tricky to know exactly where we are and where the competitors are. But certainly we have a good feeling in the car and it's gone through our tests the whole of February," said Hulkenberg. "We're very confident in what we have."
This might not be the best car on the grid, but the Force India camp believes they could break into the top-5 of the constructors standings with it. Of course, this means that the team's relatively inexperienced drivers will have to push it to the hilt to meet this expectation.
Here's the VJM05 being unveiled earlier this year:
-Picture courtesy Reuters-
you might also like
With Skyfall, director Sam Mendes mixes the old an...
If Bollywood ever went down the 007 agent route, w...