Force India hails “massive step forward” with new car

© XPB 

Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley says his squad took “a massive step forward” during last weekend’s British Grand Prix, with both Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez scoring points in the B-spec VJM08.

The heavily upgraded car made its much-anticipated debut at Silverstone where it featured a new nose cone, revamped sidepods, revised wings and updated cooling.

But while Hulkenberg made a “sensational start” from ninth to rocket up to fifth on the opening lap, the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours winner eventually ranked seventh, namely one place lower than his Austrian Grand Prix result. Yet, Fernley is adamant the evolutions “have ticked all the boxes”.

“It was very good, very positive and actually a just reward for the all the efforts that have gone in by the team with the new info in our programme,” he told F1i.

“We appreciate this weekend was a massive step and, as we said before, it was a complete change in philosophy. Without giving anything away, I think we came up with a little bit of a surprise on the aero package.

“What you see on track, perhaps when you compare to Austria, it looks about the same. In reality it is a massive step forward.”

Having lined up 11th on the grid, Perez went on to secure his second consecutive ninth-place finish. And though the Mexican felt he could have achieved a better result, he remained upbeat about Force India’s future prospects.

“Finishing with both cars in the points at Silverstone is a very positive step for the team,” said Perez. “We probably could have been even higher up, but the strategy didn’t really work out in my favour.

“When you get opportunities and you don't make the best of them you are obviously disappointed, but I think we should focus on the positives of this weekend. We’ve shown good progress and there is a lot of potential for the second half of the season.”

Click here for F1i's driver ratings from the British Grand Prix

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter