Mallya: Points Are a Must in 2009!

Force India's Vijay Mallya sees no reason why his team would not score consistent points through the 2009 season. Benefiting from the same driver lineup as last season but with a much-improved car – result of the technical partnership with McLaren Mercedes – the Indian billionaire expects nothing but constant scoreboard appearances from either Giancarlo Fisichella or Adrian Sutil.

The VJM02 that was officially launched two days ago will benefit from brand new Mercedes engines, gearbox, hydraulic system and, more importantly, Kinetic Energy Recovery System. This, together with team's new management scheme – in which Colin Kolles and Mike Gascoyne are not present anymore – should be enough for Force India to become a mid-runner this year.

“To be brutally honest, I would not be happy if we didn't show some much improved, and much needed, performance. I would like to see a strong start, rising to points mid-season and a definite improvement in qualifying. Regular points finishes should be the aim,” insisted Mallya during the unveiling of team's 2009 challenger last weekend.

However, he reckoned that his team will not be able to make the necessary performance-enhancing adjustments from the very start of the season, as the partnership with McLaren was signed rather late. That also led to a late development of the VJM02 this winter, as Force India were one of the last teams to debut their 2009-spec car on track.

“Due to the late signing of the contract and the limited time available for designing and building the VJM02, immediate benchmarking is not be possible, but I would hope that by the mid-season point Force India will have established itself well enough to accurately analyze its performance,” added Mallya.

The VJM02 debuted on track early yesterday, at Jerez, while test-driven by veteran Giancarlo Fisichella. Although it did suffer a few mechanical problems, the new car was praised by the Italian driver in terms of high-speed corner stability and consistency under braking. Testing sessions at Jerez will resume today.
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