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Hungry drivers will deliver: Mallya

Force India F1 team shows the team’s drivers (from left) Britain’s Paul di Resta, Germans Adrian Sutil and Nico Hulkenberg during a studio shoot in Silverstone, England. (SUPPLIED)


Formula One team Force India will improve on their seventh place finish in last year’s championship because they have drivers hungry for success, said the team owner Vijay Mallya on Tuesday.

The Indian billionaire was speaking at the launch of the new model, the VJM04, for the upcoming season and said he had great faith in the two race drivers Germany’s Adrian Sutil and rookie Scotsman Paul di Resta, who replaced Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi.
The team also has the talented German Nico Hulkenberg, who had an impressive season for Williams last term but was dropped for financial reasons, in reserve as its test driver.
“The 2010 season was an exceptional one for us, we scored 68 points and finished seventh behind teams that have already been world champions,” said the 55-year-old, whose team will be entering its fourth season having risen from a return of zero points in its maiden campaign.
“That clearly shows we are on course to achieve our targets.
“This year, we can be even more optimistic, because we have three pilots who are hungry for points, podiums and victories,” added Mallya, whose team have just one podium finish to their credit that of Giancarlo Fisichella in the 2009 European Grand Prix.
Sutil, who has been with Force India for their previous three seasons, said that he was determined to break into the top 10 in the drivers’ championship after finishing a best ever 11th last year with a total of 47 points.
“I hope to get myself into the top 10 in the drivers’ championship,” said the 28-year-old, whose best placed finish in a race was fourth in the 2009 Italian Grand Prix.
“I didn’t manage that last year because of a poor second-half of the season. I am sure that we are going to continue to make progress.”
The team’s new technical director Andrew Green, who 20 years ago contributed to the first Jordan team Grand Prix car, said that the car was completely different to the one from last season.
“Because of the new regulations for this season, everything is different in this car, but visually it is very subtle.
“There are lots of differences that people will not be able to see.”
The 2011 season gets underway with the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 13, while Force India will be looking to put on a command performance at the inaugural Indian race on October 30.