Fernley: Double points 'fantastic reward'
28 March 2017 – Force India Deputy Team Principal Bob Fernley says a double points finish for the squad at the Australian Grand Prix is a "fantastic reward" for its work over the winter period.
Force India placed fourth in the 2016 standings, its highest ever result, and entered the new campaign with a revised driver line-up, as Esteban Ocon joined incumbent Sergio Pérez.
Neither made it through to Q3 but both progressed in the race, as Pérez overtook the Toro Rosso drivers to grab seventh, while Ocon passed Fernando Alonso late on to collect his maiden point.
The result leaves Force India fifth in the embryonic standings, one point behind Williams, with the same slender margin over sixth-placed Toro Rosso.
"To come away from the first race of the year with seven points is a fantastic reward for all the hard work over the winter and this weekend," said Fernley.
"Sergio's race was a typical battling performance as he made some opportunistic moves on both Toro Rosso cars, which proved crucial for his end result.
"We made some excellent calls with the strategy too, with our early pit stops proving the right way to go.
"Esteban also delivered a fantastic drive and everyone in the team was delighted to see him score his first point in Formula 1."
Fernley emphasised that Force India still has substantial performance to extract from the Mercedes-powered VJM10.
"Starting the season with a good bunch of points is always an important boost for the team and shows we have good reliability too," he commented.
"We know there is more performance to come, but we've started with our best foot forward and will head to Shanghai determined to build on these results."