Szafnauer praises 'brilliant' driver line-up
7 August 2014 – Force India Chief Operating Officer Otmar Szafnauer has described as "brilliant" the squad's current driver line-up of Nico Hülkenberg and Sergio Pérez, after a successful opening half to the 2014 campaign.
The team has recorded points at all bar one of the first 11 races to hold fifth in the championship standings, with Pérez claiming its first podium in five years at the Bahrain Grand Prix and Hülkenberg consistently scoring.
"Brilliant. Just brilliant," Szafnauer told the official Formula 1 website when asked to rate the partnership.
"We have a very good relationship, a long-standing one, with Nico. He is very intelligent, has good feedback and helps us develop the car. Sergio has fitted in very well. He is a very quick racing driver, especially in the races.
"Sergio finished on the podium and Nico has scored in every race, so they've both done a very good job."
Despite a troublesome stint at McLaren, Szafnauer says Pérez's performances have come as no surprise.
"He did well at Sauber before McLaren took him, and he was against [Kamui] Kobayashi who is no slouch. And in the second half of 2013, he kind of took it to [Jenson] Button, especially in the races," he explained.
"But he also out-qualified Button, 10-9 over the year – and Sergio is typically stronger in the races than he is in qualifying. Nico has been consistent and outscored Sergio, but Sergio has been unlucky, like contact with [Felipe] Massa [at the Canadian Grand Prix] and when he couldn't get out of the garage to start in Malaysia.
"Am I surprised at his form? Not really. He is focused, wants to do well and is a good driver."