Force India out for 'regular points finishes'

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Formula One rookies Force India are targeting &quot;regular points finishes&quot; in their second Formula One season, team co-owner Vijay Mallya said in a state

Updated: March 01, 2009 17:06 IST
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Formula One rookies Force India are targeting "regular points finishes" in their second Formula One season, team co-owner Vijay Mallya said in a statement on Sunday.

"We still have much to learn as a team, but I hope that the experience we gained in 2008 sets us up properly for 2009," said Mallya, whose team did not garner any points last season.

"I would like to see a strong start, rising to points mid-season and a definite improvement in qualifying. Regular points finishes should be the aim," added Mallya as the team prepared to debut their new VJM02 car at Jerez in Spain.

Despite the limited time span available to develop the car Mallya said he hoped that "by the mid-season point Force India will have established itself well enough to accurately analyse its performance" with a car whose engine, gearbox and Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) is being provided by McLaren and Mercedes.

"I would like to think it is in everyone's interest for Formula 1 to have competition and more teams, and if partnerships exist that allow smaller teams to use their own resources more effectively and compete on a higher level, then surely that should be embraced," he went on.

Force India have retained their 2008 driver line-up, with veteran Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil continuing in the race seats - and Mallya said the time was not yet right to seek out an Indian hopeful.

"Much has been made of our decision not to employ an Indian driver, but it was my feeling that, although there is great talent out there, it is not right for Force India at the current time.

"Of course at some point, from a patriotic point of view, I would love to see an Indian driver driving an Indian car and I have always said that with 1.2 billion people there must be a Lewis Hamilton in there somewhere! We will keep our eyes peeled and if, or when, the time is right, you'll see it happen."

The car's livery for the 2009 season, which starts in Australia on March 29, will, however, be the green, white and orange of the Indian national colours.

Mallya concluded that despite the global economic downturn, "Force India is in a good enough position, it's a smaller team with a much smaller budget than the big boys and so it is probably relatively easier for us to manage under these circumstances."

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