Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley says his squad is “delighted” to have secured fifth place in the Constructors’ championship, courtesy of Nico Hulkenberg’s P6 at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Such result caps a great recovery for the Silverstone-based outfit, which went through a difficult winter as it transferred its wind tunnel to Toyota’s facilities in Cologne. As a result, Force India could unveil its VJM08 only at the final pre-season test and endured a challenging first half of the season.
The turning point came with the introduction of the heavily upgraded B-spec version of their 2015 charger at the British Grand Prix. Since then, Hulkenberg and team-mate Sergio Perez have been regular points scorers, with the Mexican even picking up a strong podium in Russia.
“Everybody in the team is delighted that we have secured fifth place in the championship with a race to spare,” Fernley said. “It’s the reward for all the hard work put in by everyone back at the factory in Silverstone, at the wind tunnel, and here at the track.
“We have been through a lot this year, but we never let our target out of our sight and today we can celebrate.
“We now head to Abu Dhabi to close off this record-breaking season on a high and secure top ten positions in the drivers' championship for both Nico and Checo [Perez].”
Hulkenberg’s eight-point haul at Interlagos has indeed moved him up ahead of Lotus’ Romain Grosjean and Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen in the standings. Commenting on his team’s achievements, the reigning Le Mans 24 Hours champion said:
“I’m very happy with sixth place and with scoring the points that helped the team secure fifth place in the championship, which is great news. It’s the best result in our history and shows the progress we have made over the years.
“This fifth place is a result of all the hard work from everybody in the team and we should feel very proud of what we have achieved together.”
Meanwhile, Perez did not enjoy the smoothest outing in Brazil, as he struggled to feel comfortable with the car all weekend. The 25-year-old finished outside the points for the first time since Suzuka, but that will not prevent him from joining in the celebration.
“[My] result should take nothing away from what has been a great championship so far,” Perez said. “The team has now finished fifth, so there are a lot of positives to celebrate. I am proud of what we achieved together this season and I am looking forward to aiming even higher in the future.”
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