Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley says his squad’s confidence is back after a messy start to the 2016 Formula 1 season thanks to its Monaco Grand Prix performance.
Third place for Sergio Perez and sixth for Nico Hulkenberg was Force India’s first double points finish of the year. It vaulted the team from seventh to fifth in the constructors’ standings as it leapfrogged Haas and Toro Rosso.
The previous five races had been a struggle, with the team failing to maintain the momentum it had built with its B-spec car in the second half of 2015.
“Being able to get both cars in the points is incredibly encouraging because that’s something we’ve struggled to do,” Fernley told Autosport. “We just needed to have a bit of good fortune because we’d had a terrible run of being in the wrong place at the wrong time for the first four races.
“Clearly our biggest rival is Toro Rosso, and we had a good result against them in Monaco which has moved us back up to fifth in the constructors’ championship. As we were also competitive in Barcelona after putting the updates on the car, we’ve shown it is now competitive, and the team is competitive again. That gives the whole team a significant lift in confidence ahead of upcoming tracks that should be good for us.”
Fernley claims the Force India chassis “is constantly evolving” and should be well-suited to next weekend’s Canadian GP in Montreal.
“It should be fine for us. I don’t expect any issues in Montreal,” he said. “Perhaps even the next street track in Baku [for the Grand Prix of Europe] will also suit us. So let’s get those two out of the way and then we will reassess.”
Perez, whose podium in Monaco was his third with Force India and the team’s fourth overall in F1, feels there is more to come from the current car.
“Visually this car looks quite similar to last year’s car, but the way it operates, the aero windows we have, are different,” said Perez. “The car has made a good step forward, though, and I think there is more potential to come from it.
“Although with this car we are having to run it a bit higher, ride height, stuff like that, making it quite a different car, I believe this year we have a better car.”