Force India likely to keep same line-up in 2016

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Force India team principal Vijay Mallya says chances of his squad retaining both Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg for next season are “very high”.

The Silverstone-based outfit experienced a troubled winter as it moved its aero department to Cologne’s state-of-the-art windtunnel. This means the 2015-spec VJM08 only hit the track at the final pre-season test and has not received any major upgrades since.

Perez and Hulkenberg have still managed to pick up valuable points here and there, including at Monaco where Perez drove a cracking race to finish seventh last weekend.

The Mexican is currently on the fringes of the top ten in the Drivers’ standings, while Force India occupies sixth place, ahead of more competitive teams like Lotus and Toro Rosso.

“I have always said that I am delighted to have Nico and Checo [Perez] as my drivers,” Mallya told Formula One’s official website. “They are both highly talented and competent drivers. I am proud that Force India always has great talent in our driver line-up.

“Just remember that Nico scored points in nearly every race last year and Checo was on the podium in Bahrain. Were it not for our handicapped start to 2015 I guess we would have seen more of that this season.

“The chances that I will keep them are absolutely very high. I make no bones about it: I like these two guys. I respect them a lot. So there is no reason for me to make a change.”

While Mallya praises his drivers’ achievements, he remains aware of the need to give them a better car with the B-spec VJM08 scheduled to make its debut right after next month’s Austrian Grand Prix. Force India’s team principal hopes the upgraded charger will prove a regular points scorer.

“The good news is that about midway through the season – certainly before Silverstone – we will come up with our real 2015 challenger and hope to be quite competitive.

“Checo did really well last weekend in Monaco with our old car, so when the new package arrives between Austria and Silverstone I am pretty sure that we will see continuous points finishes at the subsequent races.”

Click here for a more light-hearted take on the Monaco Grand Prix. 

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