Punching above their weight is Force India’s forté – the low budget team based just outside the gates of Silverstone have made a habit of being, pound-for-pound, one of Formula 1’s top teams. Their 2014 campaign has been no different and while their challenge has been bolstered by the decidedly slippery Mercedes powertrain, the same advantage is shared by a financially superior McLaren team. With the two teams separated by just two points in the constructors championship, holding P6 and P5 respectively, the classic battle of David vs Goliath will resume in Italy and is a battle which Force India’s Vijay Mallya believes his team can win.
“The Battle Is Likely To Remain Open”
Speaking on Force India’s official website, Mallya stated; “We’re now sixth in the standings and coming away from Spa with five points was a good exercise in damage limitation. It means we are only two points away from fifth place with all to play for in the coming races. With the double points in Abu Dhabi, too, the battle is likely to remain open for us until the final race.”
The nod to double points is an interesting sign of how team personnel believe that ‘Abu Double’ will have a significant impact on constructors championship placings. This is exactly what the fans have been afraid of – an artificial regulation which could ultimately define a team’s season. In the case of Force India, the final race being worth twice the value of any other may place them at a disadvantage compared to the likes of McLaren, as the former usually start the season well, only to fall backwards in the pecking order as their limited resources begin to take their toll. Typically, McLaren use their superior budget to good effect and climb up the pecking order in the closing stages. Even in their dismal 2013 campaign, their best result of the season came at the final round in Brazil, where they managed P4 and P6, compared with the Australian Grand Prix, where they could only score two points.
Regardless, the battle for fifth is highly likely to remain tight and while the aforementioned McLaren development would place them as favorites to maintain P5, the lottery of a final race which is worth double is bound to throw up some surprises and could promote Force India to their best ever Constructors Championship finish.