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F1 2017 Pre-Season Report: Force India

17 mars 2017 09:39

Ahead of the opening race of the 2017 Formula One season in Australia on March 26, we take a look at how each team is shaping up for the new campaign.

After turning heads with their livery, could Force India continue their ascent up the constructors' standings? We take a look.

 

HOW DID THEY PERFORM IN 2016?

The best of the rest, Force India continued a three-year run of progression in the constructors' standings with a very respectable fourth place, picking up third-place finishes in Monaco and Baku. They had previously never scored multiple podiums in a season.

Going further still will be a struggle, especially given Ferrari's pre-season improvements and a quicker Renault engine underneath the Red Bull. Force India were unable to break the one-minute, 20-second barrier in Barcelona. Williams, Toro Rosso and Renault - who all finished below Force India last year - each had a car dip under that benchmark.

 

THE 2017 LINE-UP

Sergio Perez

The Mexican was quick to commit his future to Force India for 2017, which could have cost him a spot in the conversation to replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes. After all, Perez outscored Valtteri Bottas by 16 points in the drivers' standings and scored both of Force India's podiums last year.

 

Casco 2017! Les gusta? 2017 helmet! Like it? @schuberthhelmet

A post shared by Checo Pérez (@schecoperez) on

Consistency has been key for Perez and his tyre management has always been an asset. How he fares on Pirelli's harder rubber - designed not to degrade as fast - will be key in his long-term prospects of moving to a top team.

Esteban Ocon

Looked impressive in a nine-race stint with Manor last season, and beat team-mate Pascal Wehrlein in the final two races of the season, which perhaps explains why the Frenchman is at Force India and Wehrlein ended up at expected backmarkers Sauber.

Embarking on his first full season, the 20-year-old Mercedes junior driver has won titles in Formula 3 and GP3.

The Pink Livery

Allowing for a slight break in tradition, we must discuss the new look for the Silverstone-based squad.

Silver F1 cars are a dime-a-dozen. Perez and Ocon can be safe in the knowledge that even the most routine of manoeuvres will stand out that little bit more this season.


THE TO-DO LIST

- Get up to speed with their midfield rivals. This is important, chiefly because there are more teams to fight with this year. Toro Rosso and Haas look like improving, with Williams' pre-season pace suggesting they want to recover fourth, at least.

- Continue the trend. With Mercedes offering customers 2017-spec power units, there's no reason Force India shouldn't be targeting more podiums. If Ocon is as quick as he has looked in junior formulas, it could be a good year.

 

HOW WILL THEY FARE?

It remains difficult to see Force India breaking into race-winner territory given their budget restraints, but the early throes of the season could give them a chance to strike while Renault and Honda power units are put to the test.

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