Sahara Force India is currently in the fourth place in the constructor’s championship as they finish the European races and come to Asia with this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday.
Team principal and co-owner Vijay Mallya says: “It feels pretty good for our team to be sitting in fourth place in the championship as we get ready for the Singapore Grand Prix. The strong showing in Monza brought us our tenth double points finish of the season, which is a tremendous effort by the entire team.
“With seven races to go, the season is rushing by quickly and we just need to keep doing what we’ve been doing all year long. It’s about being consistent, picking up the points and taking our opportunities.
“We haven’t eased off. Development of the VJM10 continues and will bring benefits for the 2018 car too. We are still bringing new parts to the track and both cars will have developments this weekend.”
Senior driver Sergio Perez says: “Singapore is definitely one of the toughest races in the season. It’s so hot and humid; a real test for the driver, but I am well prepared for racing in the heat. Sometimes you feel really uncomfortable in the car and you just want the race to be over as soon as possible. It’s hard to breathe, you are sweating a lot and the sweat goes in your eyes! But it’s still a special night and one of the best races of the year.
“I have been in the points every time I have raced in Singapore and I hope I can extend my record. It’s hard to single out a specific corner in Marina Bay because I really like them all. I love street circuits in general and this is a special lap. There’s no room for error – the wall is always next to you; one mistake and you’re out.
“Our objective is obviously to score points in Singapore and in all the races to follow. The season may be nearing an end, but there are still some very important races ahead of us and we want to make sure we do our best to stay fourth in the championship.”
Driver Esteban Ocon says: “There’s something special about Singapore. You race under the lights and the atmosphere is unique: it feels really glamorous and all the fans and guests are partying through the night during the race. On the other hand, it’s very hard physically. It’s hot and very humid, and you lose a lot of fluids when driving. It’s one of those places where everything needs to be perfect in the car, because you’ll struggle a lot if you’re not in the right position or there is something wrong with the seat. You try to prepare as best as you can for days like these; you train in hot places and try to maximise the performance of your body.
“The weird schedule doesn’t affect me. I like that we stick to European times: we wake up late, the days are shorter and you’re able to sleep a lot. It’s my favourite weekend schedule – I am someone who sleeps a lot and in Singapore I can get my 12 hours per night!
“The lap has some really interesting sections. For a street circuit, it’s very fast, but my favourite part is the twisty part in the middle of the lap, where you’re so close to the wall all the time. There are a lot of beautiful buildings next to the track and when they are all lit up at night the place looks very beautiful.”
Sahara Force India’s Chief Race Engineer, Tom McCullough, shares his insight about the race under the lights in Singapore.
“Singapore is the original Formula One night race and is as different a track from Monza as it can be. It’s an anticlockwise track and it has the highest number of corners in the calendar – 23 on the official map. The corners are quite evenly balanced between left and right and most of them are tight, low-speed turns. Qualifying will be very important as there aren’t many overtaking opportunities: despite this, races are often very entertaining and the Safety Car is a common sight. It’s a tough weekend for both the drivers and the team members: it’s hot and humid, even at night, meaning hydration is very important. The drivers, in particular, need to be in perfect shape: Singapore is the longest race of the year and one in which they will need to be confident in the car and precise, as the walls are unforgiving and there’s no room for mistakes.”
eom/with inputs from Sahara Force India release