Formula 1 mid-season review: Force India

Formula 1 mid-season review: Force India

8 August 2014 – As the Formula 1 fraternity enjoys the summer break, GPUpdate.net takes the opportunity to analyse team and driver performances over the first 11 rounds of the 2014 season. In the latest instalment, we look at how Force India continues to surpass expectations, bolstered by drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Sergio Pérez.

Force India: 8/10

Force India doesn't harbour the resources of teams higher up the grid, yet for most of the season it has been punching above its weight. Fifth in the Constructors' standings is a fair reflection of its efforts this year and many would label it as one of the most impressive outfits when weighing up results against money. Some at the squad feel that the chassis isn't particularly strong – its performance at the high-downforce Circuit de Catalunya is indicative of this – and that it is being significantly aided by the Mercedes power unit; whilst that is undoubtedly prominent, Force India has still regularly done the job. Early season tyre advantage helped too, with its drivers able to stop once fewer than a clutch of rivals and profit. In hiring Nico Hülkenberg and Sergio Pérez, co-owner Vijay Mallya has also belied the trend from some teams to chase money over talent and his faith in his young chargers has been largely justified. Force India's issue now is, despite its impressive start to the year, whether it can catch up with a resurgent Williams, or perhaps more pressingly, repel McLaren, which has far superior developmental skills over the course of a season. Sixth in the championship would still represent a solid year, but considering its start, the way it turned heads and its driver pairing, does it have the impetus to finish higher? Or is this a glass ceiling that cannot be broken without massive and ultimately unsustainable investment?

Nico Hülkenberg: 8.5/10

Hülkenberg's voyage of Formula 1's midfield teams continues in 2014 and the German has built on his promise, with his points-scoring streak only coming to an end following his clumsy shunt with team-mate Pérez in Hungary. In fact, in the first seven races, Hülkenberg only finished outside of the top six once, an impressive feat considering the resources of other teams. When you look at the fluctuating fortunes of some outfits and drivers in 2014, his early season consistency, achieved through a mixture of tyre preservation and a blend of attacking and defensive skills, is eye-catching. Recent races, in which Force India has regressed slightly, have prevented Hülkenberg from reaching the levels of the early season rounds, which means he may well be overlooked in the driver market for another year. Hülkenberg has generally exerted authority over Pérez, although at some circuits the Mexican has extracted more performance in race conditions – a trait which Hülkenberg perhaps needs to work on. Nonetheless, to sit seventh in the championship standings with 69 points is exemplary. But moving forward, while Force India is a respectable team, Hülkenberg is the same age as Sebastian Vettel and his talent merits a race-winning machine.

Sergio Pérez: 7.5/10

Still only 24 after a whirlwind couple of years, Pérez has frequently flattered to deceive in 2014; his deserved podium in Bahrain was claimed at a race in which tyre preservation was crucial – this is Pérez's strong point, as shown again in Canada and Austria where he made the softer tyres last longer than his rivals. However, this is only useful up to a point, as Pérez lacks the ultimate pace and consistency of team-mate Hülkenberg. Over half of his 29 points tally for the season so far came courtesy of that podium finish in Bahrain. His driving style means that while he can save tyres in the race, he is frequently unable to extract the best from them over a single lap in qualifying and this leaves him playing catch-up. There has been misfortune, such as being unable to start in Malaysia, but all too often Perez becomes a magnet for trouble. In Australia he suffered a puncture after colliding with Esteban Gutiérrez, a first lap incident with Jenson Button left him out in Monaco while contact at the opening corner with Jean-Éric Vergne in Britain dropped him down the order. Again, this is the danger when qualifying in the midfield, rather than a few positions higher up the grid. Other hefty shunts too, such as in Canada and Hungary, have cost him and Force India points. Pérez is a good feisty midfield driver, but after blowing his McLaren chance, is this ultimately his level?

Do you agree with GPUpdate.net's ratings? Join in the discussion via the Facebook panel below

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Sunday 1 February 2015

  2. 17:42

    F1 photos: Jerez pre-season testing – Day 1

    F1
  3. Vettel pleased with Ferrari starting point 17:39

    Vettel pleased with Ferrari starting point

    Sebastian Vettel spoke of a positive start to his Ferrari career after setting the pace on the opening day of pre-season...

    F1
  4. McLaren set for 2015 livery change 17:13

    McLaren set for 2015 livery change

    McLaren CEO Ron Dennis has said that the squad's 2015 livery will change, but declined to comment on when the alteration...

    F1
  5. 16:11

    Jerez pre-season testing: Day 1 results

    F1
  6. Vettel fastest on opening test day at Jerez 16:05

    Vettel fastest on opening test day at Jerez

    New Ferrari recruit Sebastian Vettel topped the timesheets on the opening day of pre-season testing at the Circuito de...

    F1
  7. Bottas aims for first win with Williams 12:09

    Bottas aims for first win with Williams

    Williams' Valtteri Bottas says he is aiming to claim his first Formula 1 victory this season, on the back of his successful...

    F1
  8. Lotus E23 to make late debut at Jerez 11:38

    Lotus E23 to make late debut at Jerez

    Lotus will make a late start to this year's pre-season testing period, with the Mercedes-powered E23 yet to arrive at the...

    F1
  9. 08:10

    Photos: The new Red Bull RB11

    F1
  10. Red Bull unveils RB11 in testing livery 08:09

    Red Bull unveils RB11 in testing livery

    Red Bull has unveiled its new Renault-powered RB11 in a 'testing livery' at Jerez. The car, which will be piloted by Daniel...

    F1
  11. 07:57

    Follow Jerez pre-season testing live!

    F1
  12. Williams reveals FW37 in Jerez pit lane 07:55

    Williams reveals FW37 in Jerez pit lane

    Williams has officially unveiled its Mercedes-powered FW37 in the pit lane at Jerez. The squad released computer images...

    F1
  13. 07:33

    Photos: Mercedes launches 2015 challenger

    F1
  14. Mercedes officially presents new F1 W06 07:31

    Mercedes officially presents new F1 W06

    Mercedes has officially pulled the covers off its new Formula 1 challenger, ahead of the start of pre-season testing at the...

    F1
  15. 07:15

    Photos: Honda presents new MotoGP livery

    MotoGP
  16. Honda showcases 2015 livery in Bali 07:13

    Honda showcases 2015 livery in Bali

    Repsol Honda presented its livery for the 2015 MotoGP season on the island of Bali on Sunday. Reigning double World...

    MotoGP
  17. Jerez pre-season testing: Day 1 line-up 05:53

    Jerez pre-season testing: Day 1 line-up

    The opening day of pre-season testing at the Circuito de Jerez has arrived and, to keep you fully up to date with who is in...

    F1
  18. Video of the Day: Adding SF15-T's livery 05:02

    Video of the Day: Adding SF15-T's livery

    Watch a time-lapse video as Ferrari turns its nascent SF15-T into a fully liveried machine.

    F1
  19. Saturday 31 January 2015

  20. 18:40

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  21. Video: Mercedes previews 2015 fight 18:31

    Video: Mercedes previews 2015 fight

    Mercedes presents footage of its F1 W06 Hybrid as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg talk about where they will improve in 2015.

    F1
  22. 17:51

    Latest F1 photos: Preparations at Jerez

    F1
  23. Tost targets fifth place for Toro Rosso 17:42

    Tost targets fifth place for Toro Rosso

    Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost says that his squad should aim for a top five finish in this year's Constructors'...

    F1
  24. 16:48

    Photos: Toro Rosso reveals STR10

    F1
  25. Video: STR10 on track at Misano 16:46

    Video: STR10 on track at Misano

    Toro Rosso runs its new STR10 on track during a filming day at Misano.

    F1
  26. Jerez pre-season testing: The line-up 16:32

    Jerez pre-season testing: The line-up

    The opening pre-season test gets underway at the Circuito de Jerez on Sunday morning. As a preview to the gathering,...

    F1
  27. Toro Rosso presents STR10 in Jerez 16:27

    Toro Rosso presents STR10 in Jerez

    Rookie drivers Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. have taken the wraps off of Toro Rosso's new Renault-powered STR10 in the...

    F1
  28. Preview: Formula 1 gears up for Jerez test 13:44

    Preview: Formula 1 gears up for Jerez test

    Just over two months after the chequered flag fell to bring the 2014 season to a close in Abu Dhabi, Formula 1 teams are...

    F1
  29. 'A lot of change' on Mercedes W06 – Lowe 13:16

    'A lot of change' on Mercedes W06 – Lowe

    Mercedes' Executive Director (technical) Paddy Lowe says the squad has found performance in "a number of areas" with its...

    F1
  30. Vettel appreciative of 'straightforward' Räikkönen 12:26

    Vettel appreciative of 'straightforward' Räikkönen

    New Ferrari recruit Sebastian Vettel says the 'straightforward' nature of team-mate Kimi Räikkönen should aid their r...

    F1
  31. Video: Daniel Ricciardo on 2015 season 11:18

    Video: Daniel Ricciardo on 2015 season

    Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo discusses his hopes for the new season as he tries to build on a successful 2014.

    F1
  32. Kobayashi moves to Super Formula for 2015 10:11

    Kobayashi moves to Super Formula for 2015

    Kamui Kobayashi will move to Japan's Super Formula championship for 2015 after leaving Formula 1. Kobayashi spent three...

    F1
  33. Hamilton: Mercedes can be even stronger 09:04

    Hamilton: Mercedes can be even stronger

    Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton says that Mercedes' rivals will find it tough to match the outfit in 2015 as "there...

    F1
  34. Video: Magnussen on 2015 expectations 08:33

    Video: Magnussen on 2015 expectations

    McLaren test and reserve driver Kevin Magnussen discusses his 2015 role and expectations.

    F1
  35. Magnussen's sights set on Formula 1 return 08:32

    Magnussen's sights set on Formula 1 return

    Kevin Magnussen says he will work hard to show his capability as a Formula 1 driver as he bids to return to a race seat for...

    F1
  36. Feature: Sauber's Nasr 'ready for the next step' 07:25

    Feature: Sauber's Nasr 'ready for the next step'

    Formula 1 welcomes three rookies in 2015 – Toro Rosso team-mates Carlos Sainz Jr. and Max Verstappen, and Sauber driver F...

    F1
  37. Video of the Day: Interview with Sebastian Vettel 05:04

    Video of the Day: Interview with Sebastian Vettel

    Sebastian Vettel talks about his move from Red Bull to Ferrari and his hopes for the year ahead.

    F1
  38. Friday 30 January 2015

  39. Ricciardo to debut Red Bull RB11 in Jerez 19:51

    Ricciardo to debut Red Bull RB11 in Jerez

    Red Bull has confirmed that Daniel Ricciardo will debut the squad's new Renault-powered RB11 at Jerez on Sunday. The...

    F1
  40. Ferrari confident over improved power unit 15:48

    Ferrari confident over improved power unit

    Ferrari Technical Director James Allison says that a significant amount of the squad's efforts over the winter period have...

    F1
  41. Filippi joins CFH for road/street courses 14:58

    Filippi joins CFH for road/street courses

    CFH Racing has confirmed that Italian driver Luca Filippi will race for the squad in the 10 road/street courses in this...

    Indy
  42. Video: Interview with Maurizio Arrivabene 12:14

    Video: Interview with Maurizio Arrivabene

    Newly-appointed Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene previews the new Formula 1 season.

    F1
  43. Arrivabene: No 'magic' for Ferrari revival 12:11

    Arrivabene: No 'magic' for Ferrari revival

    Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene says that nobody has the magic to suddenly improve Ferrari's performances, though...

    F1
more news