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Szafnauer: We can feel very proud of our performance

NEWS STORY
18/12/2017

Even if Williams does appear to be heading towards a slump similar to that of the 2008-2013 period, this should not deflect from Force India's massive achievement in claiming fourth in the team standings for the second successive season.

Although the Silverstone-based outfit had around half the points of third placed Red Bull and just over a quarter of Mercedes tally, pound-for-pound the team punched well above its weight once again.

"To deliver fourth place in the Constructors' Championship two years on the bounce is a huge achievement," agrees team COO, Otmar Szafnauer. "I have to pay tribute to each and every one of the 400 team members who worked so hard to make it possible. Whether it was back at the factory in the UK or the trackside effort by the race team, everybody played their part in delivering the most successful season in our history. We can feel very proud of our performance this year."

Asked if 2017 was more satisfying than 2016, he admits: "In some ways yes, because the challenges over the winter were far greater delivering a car that had very little carryover from 2016.

"Changes to the regulations are always difficult, but we were able to consolidate our position and even strengthen it. We secured fourth place in the championship this year with two races in hand and ended the season with over 100 points advantage to fifth place.

"It's been a long journey and it's actually taken us ten years to get to this level," he continues. "There are no quick fixes in this sport and we've gradually put the right ingredients in place to achieve the results we have today.

"We continue to invest in the right people and the engineering core, led by Andrew Green, has remained consistent for a number of years with a real harmony in the way we approach things.

"We've also taken sensible strategic decisions, such as our choice of wind tunnel and engine partner and the way we chose drivers who are the best fit for this team. The backing of new sponsors, including BWT, has been essential in helping us take those final steps and deliver the high development rate."

A large part in the team's competitiveness was the constant development of the VJM10, having clearly learned a lesson from previous seasons.

"I can't remember a year where we brought so many new parts to the track," admits Szafnauer. "At almost every race there was something different on the car.

"In the second half of 2017 we took some significant development steps and emerged as the fourth quickest team at most of the races after the summer break.

"Even when we had secured fourth, we were able to bring 2018 development parts to the car to help our learning for next year."

Asked his personal highlights and lowlights of the season, he, like a number of drivers, cites Azerbaijan.

"Probably the race in Baku counts for both of those!" he says. "Our car was very strong that weekend and the missed opportunity of a double podium was difficult to swallow.

However, I'm proud of the way we bounced back from those difficult moments and showed a unified team spirit. That's been a real highlight of the season."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Your Mom's Best Friend, 20/12/2017 4:26

"@ Rock Doc

EXACTLY.

Nail on the Head."

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2. Posted by Rock Doc, 19/12/2017 21:34

"If there with a few more teams like Force India, would we really need the likes of Merc, Ferrari or Red Bull ???"

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3. Posted by Your Mom's Best Friend, 19/12/2017 4:33

"Unless one is a Hamilton fan, Force India's 2017 performance was probably the only truly good aspect to the season. Just a shame that they couldn't nab any podia."

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