Force India eyeing podiumsposted in F128 | 06 | 2012
BATHGATE'S PAUL DI RESTA and his Sahara Force India team head to Silverstone for next weekend's British Grand Prix with boss Vijay Mallya admitting he believes they are close to a podium finish.
"We now have our sights set on Silverstone and we go there with a great deal of confidence, knowing that our car is competitive," Mallya admitted.
"We want to be on the podium. I think we're close to it now."
The India billionaire believes Sahara Force India is still capable of finishing fifth in the 2012 Formula 1 constructors' championship, especially after its performance in Valencia.
And despite nearest rivals Sauber, Williams and Lotus all having their headline-grabbing podium-finishes and — in the case of Williams, a grand prix win — Sahara Force India now sits just one point behind seventh-placed Williams in the teams' battle.
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"We are only one point shy of Williams right now and 16 points away from Sauber, who have had podium finishes. So we are getting there," Mallya continued.
"We are definitely on target. I want to finish fifth in the constructors' championship this year and, fingers crossed, it looks like we're getting there."
After Di Resta, a global ambassador for Whyte & Macaky Whisky, and his team-mate, Nico Hulkenberg, finished seventh and fifth respectively in Valencia, Mercedes — which currently holds fifth place — is just 48 points ahead.
And in a frank admission, Mallya also highlighted that but for mistakes in the way the team handled its Pirelli tyres in Montreal almost three weeks ago, the gap would have been even closer.
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"Speaking frankly," Mallya said, "we should have had the same or a similar result in Canada. But there we completely miscalculated the tyre behaviour.
"We ran the tyres too hot and subsequent analysis confirmed that this was a mistake on our part.
"We all agreed that it was a mistake and without it we would have left Montreal with a better result, possibly even a double points finish. But that is Formula 1. There is always an element of unpredictability."
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