Force India have every reason to believe that they will extend their lead over Williams in the Constructors standings this weekend at the Malaysian Grand prix as the team chase their highest finish to a season in their short yet successful history.
The VJM09 has been a constant points scorer and agitator of the top three teams this season. The question is, can Perez add another podium to his tally around Sepang? Or will it be Hulkenberg who outperforms this weekend?
Of the Force India team-mates, it is Nico Huldenberg who has had the worst luck this season with three retirements, his most recent coming at the Singapore Grand Prix after completing 30-yards of the race. The German is hoping for a bit more of a showing this weekend and said,
“It feels strange to be going to Sepang at the end of the season, but it’s also a nice change to mix up the calendar. It’s one of the hottest events of the year and the temperatures make it quite tough on tyre degradation. The tyres will be important here, managing them throughout the race is crucial and it’s an area we really concentrate on understanding with the engineers.
Coming after Singapore, I hope we will be a bit more acclimatised to the hot weather – it may even feel like a relief after the real oven of Marina Bay! I’d rank these two events as the toughest races of the season from a physical point of view – you really need to be at the peak of you fitness to do well here.
Most of the races I remember in Malaysia have seen crazy weather conditions, in April, with monsoon rain, red flags and aquaplaning everywhere. I am quite curious to see how it will change now that the race is in October. It’s a track where I have scored some good points and where I had a strong race in 2014, so I hope to go there and create some more special memories.”
– Nico Hulkenberg
Sergio Perez has scored 20 more points than his team-mate so far this season and might be one to watch given the resurfacing of Sepang. Tyre life will be a grey area this weekend and Checo is usually the one to pull out something extra stint-wise. This year’s Force India is much smoother on its tyres than predecessors too. He said,
“Getting a good result after a difficult weekend, as in Singapore, is a big boost for everyone in the team. It shows we can overcome challenges and that you should never give up.
Sepang is usually a circuit where rain is a certainty rather than a possibility. It’s where I scored my first podium in Formula One, in 2012, thanks to making the most of the weather conditions. Being in a position to fight for the win came as a shock for me as we did not expect it, but the emotions of that day will stay with me forever.
It’s another physical race, with the heat and humidity. The track itself is very long and there are a several technical corners. There are long straights with big braking zones that require precision and the high temperatures take the life out of the tyres quickly, especially the rear ones. We have done well in similar hot conditions this season so hopefully we can be on the pace once again.”
– Sergio Perez
A point separates Force India and Williams in the Constructors and it will be a tight battle to the finish so both Force india drivers will have to keep their cool around Sepang to keep ahead…