Vijay Mallya says he is confident Force India can deliver another “competitive performance” at this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, after securing a double points finish in Malaysia last Sunday.
Teammates Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg came home sixth and eighth respectively at the Sepang International Circuit, as Force India narrowly outscored Williams in the fight for P4 in the Constructors’ standings.
The Silverstone-based outfit has now bagged points at every race since the Austrian GP in June and Mallya does not see the trend ending in round 17 of this year’s world championship.
“We head to Suzuka off the back of a very strong weekend in Sepang,” said the Force India team boss. “Scoring twelve points strengthened our fourth place in the championship and showed, once again, that the VJM09 is a car that is competitive on any kind of circuit.
“I think we were a little unlucky with how the race unfolded, but we made the most of the situation and came away with some important points.
“It means we can arrive in Japan confident of another competitive performance. The team is working extremely hard, the drivers are extracting the performance from the car, and we are looking forward to the challenge that awaits us this weekend.”
Force India currently leads Williams by three points (124 to 121) with five races left in the 2016 campaign.
Having been selected from hundreds of entries and beating nine other finalists from across the Emirates in an intense shootout event at the Dubai Autodrome, 23-year-old Solaiman became first ever winner from the UAE.
Solaiman will get to spend six months working at the Formula 1 team’s headquarters in Enstone and six months working at Infiniti’s European Technical Center in Cranfield. With F1 Technology more relevant to the automotive industry than ever, he will play a key role in the ongoing transfer of technical knowledge and expertise between the Renault Sport F1 Team and Infiniti.
Commenting on his win, Solaiman said: “It’s an incredible feeling, I still can’t believe that I have won! All of the other contestants were extremely prepared and competitive.
“I now have to concentrate and do my very best to prove that I am a worthy winner, and make the most of this fantastic opportunity.”
The Infiniti Engineering Academy, now in its third year, is a one-of-a-kind global search for the world’s best up-and-coming engineers. For 2016, seven placements have been made available with one winner chosen each from USA, Canada, Mexico, Europe, United Arab Emirates, China and Asia–Pacific to work with the team.
This unique training program for brilliant young engineers – made possible thanks to Infiniti’s technical partnership with Renault Sport F1 Team – has attracted 4,108 registrations from 44 different countries. A number of previous winners have gone on to secure full time careers in the automotive and motorsport industries.
Juergen Schmitz, Managing Director, Infiniti Middle East, said: “At Infiniti, we believe in initiatives that help us to actively engage with our wider community and the 420 registrations from the UAE this year is yet again a great indication of how well it has been received.”
After his dramatic early exit from the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday, Hamilton indicated to reporters that he now had a lack of confidence in the last two engines currently available to him.
“Right now my concern is that I’ve got these two engines and I want to make sure they can treat them with whatever they can to make sure they last,” Hamilton said.
“If that means not doing a session, I will not do a session. If that’s what I’ve got to do, because I’ll do whatever it takes to see through the race.”
But Wolff is not in favour of skipping practice sessions to reduce wear and tear on Hamilton’s remaining engine components.
“Missing a practice session is harming his weekend overall, so we would want to come to the race and have a more reliable situation,” he said.
“We have two engines left, one that has run three races and one that is brand new. We will leave no stone unturned to check them for the next races.
“Having said that, it is already the way we do things, that we are forensic in our approach and how we check all the bits. Whatever needs to be done to look at that specific failure today will be done.
“Most of the failures were not linked to each other – it was different failures. It was failures that were either in the supply chain, or material problems or assembly problems or just a mistake in the design or fatigue below the mileage it should have been, so there is no pattern in those failures that we can identify.”