Force India at level to target former champions

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Force India is now competitive enough to show in an interest in former champions such as Jenson Button, according to Otmar Szafnauer.

Button was linked with a move to Williams before announcing he will stay at McLaren but not race in F1 next year as Stoffel Vandoorne takes his seat. During the announcement, Button made clear he had also received a number of offers from other F1 teams to continue racing. With Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari all having secure line-ups, Szafnauer suggested interest was shown by Force India.

Asked if that shows the level the team has now reached as one of the best teams behind the top three, Szafnauer told F1i: “Yeah and some of the races we’re not that far behind them.

"I mean, yes at points we are far behind the top three, but in the races that suit us sometimes we are right there with them and sometimes beating them on track. Baku comes to mind and Spa comes to mind, that’s not just one fluke. We’re not that far off, the car is pretty good.”

And Szafnauer acknowledges being in a fight with the biggest teams in the sport on occasion then helps with negotiations such as those taking place with Sergio Perez's backers at present.

“Yeah with sponsors for sure. Showing them what we can do with the limited resources that we have, we can fight with those guys and then hopefully that will rally the sponsors to give us even more so we can fight even harder.”

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