• Force India

Sticking to his guns

Chris Medland November 20, 2013

ESPN caught up with Vijay Mallya after the United States Grand Prix to discuss the constructors' situation and his plans for the 2014 driver line-up

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With the result [in Austin] and McLaren scoring heavy points, is that the constructors' hopes out of the window now?
We are 25 points ahead of Sauber and 25 points behind McLaren after this race. Sadly we did not score any points, but for Sauber to get ahead of us means they'll have to win the race in Brazil or at least have both their cars finish in the top five, all on the assumption that we score no points at all. It's theoretically achievable but not likely. Equally if I am to catch McLaren I need to score 25 points; theoretically possible but unlikely. So my gut feeling says we will just wind up where we are in sixth position, though I'm disappointed because half way through the season I was really optimistic that we would actually remain and finish the season ahead of McLaren.

But after the tyres changed post-Silverstone we've struggled. We've got a better understanding of the tyres and we were able to get more out of the tyres in India and in Abu Dhabi but with the hard compounds in Austin we struggled, so let's see how it goes.

Does that mean you can take a different approach to the final race if nothing is likely to change?

Oh yeah, absolutely. If in the last race you have nothing to lose you give it all you can. So we probably will be a bit more aggressive with our strategy. I'm told that the weather forecast is for rain which of course adds its own unpredictability to the whole thing.

The car seemed to work very well in the wet in Brazil last year…
Oh it certainly did! And it was Nico [Hulkenberg] who is right now driving for Sauber, so…

Does that worry you slightly then, if you get those conditions?
Well I don't know how good the Sauber is in the wet conditions, but good luck to them.

You mention Nico there; there are a lot of drivers still floating around and you normally make a decision at the end of the season. Are you able to stick with that or with how the driver market is do you have to move sooner?
No, no. Everybody knows I make the decision at the last minute - well not the last minute - I make the decision traditionally after the Force India Christmas party which means in December. I see no reason to change it. Yes, I have received approaches from other drivers but they all know that decision time will be in December.

So at this stage you've got nobody signed as such for next year?
Nothing that I am going to communicate or comment on at this stage.

Adrian [Sutil] was very confident on Friday when we spoke to him and said that he was going to still be here next season…
Adrian is a good driver. There must be some good enough reason why they brought him back, isn't there? I rate him highly.

But if we look at what McLaren did with bringing Kevin Magnussen in, with the change in regulations a lot of teams seem to be taking the chance to change line-ups. Do you think that's the way to go? McLaren is a very professional team who have won the world champion before. They know their racing, they obviously rate Kevin Magnussen very highly and if they want to give him a chance next year then that's great. I would always like to see more and more youngsters come on line.

You mentioned that some drivers have approached you; have you been surprised by some of the approaches that you have got?
I would like to think and believe that the Force India race seat is a very desirable seat. It's not just a seat for the sake of having a seat. So I am not surprised that people have come to me.

Chris Medland is assistant editor at ESPNF1

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Chris Medland is assistant editor at ESPNF1 Chris Medland, who in his youth even found the Pacific GPs entertaining, talked his way in to work at the British Grand Prix and was somehow retained for three years. He also worked on the BBC's F1 output prior to becoming assistant editor ahead of the 2011 season