Descent into Farce India


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Is there a team in F1 in 2013 with more cause to be disappointed with their lot than Force India? It all feels so different now to the optimism of Adrian Sutil leading, and performing extremely well, in Melbourne. They did look at the start of the season to be becoming the 2013 version of McLaren, with pit errors and a scarcely believable double pit catastrophe leaving them short of points. Di Resta was picking up points. Then came Britain.

Force India saw their advantage of swapping the tyres around - allegedly their idea - completely destroyed by Pirelli's insistence on using the tyres as they were designed to be used after disobedience of such a policy lead to Pirelli copping even worse than usual headlines in the aftermath of the tyres popping left, right and centre at Silverstone. It was probably to be predicted that McLaren would get its act together in this context and overhaul Force India. The problem is, performance wise, they're not the only ones!

The Q3 apperances started to dry up. McLaren started getting past them on a more consistent basis, while Ricciardo and Hulkenburg also started to become frequent flyers in the Q3 game. But it was not only Q3 appearences drying up, the liklihood of a Q1 elimination was growing too! For the last couple of races, the only time a Force India seems to be on TV is when Di Resta is walking out of it on the side of the road. Sutil has been completely anonymous, aside from his attempts to block Lewis Hamilton at any given opportunity.

But it has to be said that the performance drop offs could have been, to a certain extent, predicted. What Force India's main failing has been this season is more of an inability to make hey while the sun shone. McLaren's performance since Silverstone has scarcely been of the caliber to have eaten away quite as quickly at the lead Force India should have built, even if having a driver of true class in Jenson Button has been a significant advantage for the Chrome Arrows.

Springing to mind are the unnecessary DNFs, the strategy calls married with poor driving that saw Di Resta eliminated from Q1 sessions when the car was at its most competitive, the understandable but still moronic determination of Sutil to avenge his conviction upon the former friend who refused to testify for him. But even with all that, we're left with the question - what would Nico Hulkenburg done in this car?
I think you forgot Farce India really started at the beginning of the season when they left it to the last minute to sort out their driver line up

one week it was Bianchi, another week it was Rossiter and finally Sutil emerged apparenty Mercedes had a hand in getting him back whilst it was almost certain Bianchi was going to be in the car with Ferrari engines for 2014 possibly

So would Bianchi have done any better than Sutil is a good question to ask?

Another thing was the constant rumours about the shadiness of the team owners with VJ 's airline not doing great and Sahara actually trying to suspiciously hide money

It did look like rosy for the early part of the season with Di Resta's excellent 4th in Bahrain and leading the race if I remember at one point.

The team was regularly picking up points until Silverstone when the tyre rule change hurt them the most

For Di Resta when he has had a chance to impress he seems to hit some bad luck but now is making errors and showing his frustration

I think the team will go backwards I feel because the car is apparently proving very difficult to drive and both drivers combined aint doing enough to overcome the quality of Button in Mclaren
I think their was a collective groan from most when they announced Sutil in the seat at the begining of the year and whilst he shut us up with his come back race in Australia he has proved to be pretty average all year. We'll never know what Bianchi would have done but I suspect it might have drawn more attention from us all than Sutil trundling into people.

They should have had far better results at the begining of the year and are paying the price for it now. True we would have expected Mclaren to get them but on current form it could well be that Hulkenberg hauls Sauber past them single handedly too. It would only take a couple more top 6 finishes from the Hulk and some no scores from FI. Who is going to bet against that right now?

I've hinted at it before but I'm sort of expecting a complete driver overhaul from FI at the end of the year as the atmosphere with Di Resta and Sutil has gone very flat and with Di Resta hardly being complimentary about the team I imagine they are keeping an eye on the driver market.

I think if the roundabout stops and Hulkenberg, Perez or even Massa are avaliable then they'll jump on them just to get some oommph and attention to the team. Bringing in Calado would be exciting but expensive on damage repairs and with the Merc/Wolff link you have to have Bird and Bottas in the pic.

Whatever happens its seems obvious Force India need to inject some enthusiasm into the team somehow.
Agree completely with most of the points raised here - I used to be a Jordan devotee, and it's been painful to watch Sutil "trundling about" and the miserable di Resta being, well, miserable.

New broom required - bring in Bird and Massa!
Force India saw their advantage of swapping the tyres around - allegedly their idea

I think that this is most likely true. It would go a long way to explain Sutil's race in Oz, but it also seems likely that the big teams caught on pretty soon though. There's also a possibility that this practice contributed to their dreadful pit disasters while running quite well. And of course we all know the final chapter of this saga at Silverstone when they lost this advantage to the teams who weren't doing this.
I find it difficult to criticise Force India because they've done a fantastic job since 2008 when they were pretty much back markers. If I ranked the performance of the teams in the 2009-2013 regulations era Red Bull would obviously come out on top but I would put Force India second. For reference, the gap between Force India and the front runners in qualifying in 2008 was similar to the gap that we've had between Caterham and the front runners over the past few years.

Sure they've made mistakes and some questionable decisions but they're punching well above their weight.
My main worry for Force India now is the resurgence of Nico Hulkenberg and Sauber. If he and Sauber overhaul Force India's points tally which is looking likely then the money situation at the team will be a big issue. Force India like Sauber aren't rich enough to finish seventh this season finishing sixth is a most. Should Force India finish seventh I think di Resta might have to start thinking about a return to DTM or another team, I think they'll keep Sutil on cause he brings money but they'll also want another driver to provide the team with money IMHO. - Yes for once i'm taking my di Resta blinkers off for once and think what might be best for FI in the long run :).
At one stage there were marvelled in terms of race pace having one the fastest cars on Sunday certainly Sutil was showing the pace of the car in Bahrain after his punt on lap 1

Judging by the last 3 races neither driver deserve to be in F1 to be fair . Judging by the whole season then they've a fair job but could have been better points haul if someone decided not to take personal vendetta everytime he sees a Silver car with a yellow helmet and get stupid penalties for it
Sauber are just 17 points behind Force India now, with 4 races to go I wouldn't bet against the Swiss team overturning the deficit. Perhaps Hulkenberg can still have made the right decision to switch teams.
Hulkenberg has scored that in the last 2 races alone and now Guttierrez is scoring. Team need to pull their finger out starting at their home race.

I have a feeling that the 6th place in the constructors will be the difference between a driver clear out or driver stability at FI.
no-FIAt-please Hindsight is a great thing but Force India did chuck a lot of points away in the first half of the season though

RasputinLives I don't think Force India can maintain 6th place because they are slower than Mclaren who really act as the buffer between the two teams when it comes to taking off points

Sauber's pace certainly with Hulkenberg is good enough to give Ferrari's a headache

Coming back to the topic one thing that strikes is what level of ambition does VJ want for Force India - they seem to be happy to sit in the midfield or at least be 1st of the midfield runners without troubling the big teams - almost by default saying we are feeder team and happy to pick up minor points

They want to hire the most talented drivers at the cheapest cost apart from Spa 2009 they don't like breaking that mould
I don't think anyone can deny Force India were having one of, if not the, greatest starts to the season in their history. It's clear the tyre changes have hurt them, and hurt the drivers as well, keep hearing di Resta complaining about how bad the car feels- possible explanation for 3 consecutive DNFs due to driver error. It's hurt di Resta's chances of a top seat too, especially with Hulkenberg giving some amazing performances in the Sauber. However, with a Mercedes power unit, I can see Force India being a good team next year, possibly where Lotus are at the moment- podiums, perhaps? Like with all things in F1, the proof is in the pudding
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