Australian Grand Prix Force India Race Report
Monday, 26 March 2018 | Ravenol Marketing
The first race of the season is over and we finally got a chance to see what the 2018 Formula One teams and cars are truly capable of over 58 laps in Melbourne. The race was won by Ferrari’s Sebastien Vettel, after undercutting Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton with a clever pit stop during the Virtual Safety Car. Meanwhile further down the field, Force India drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon finished 11th and 12th respectively.
Whilst it wasn’t the best start for RAVENOL’s Technical Partner given their lower than expected qualifying and race finishing positions, if could have been far worse. Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly suffered a blown engine on lap 14 the team’s first event with Honda engines. Both Haas drivers were forced to pull off the track following issues securing the front left tyre in the pits. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen struggled with lack of grip, and Mercedes have not found a fix to the issue of the car overheating in traffic.
In contract, the Force India Team seemed unshaken despite the dramas unfolding on the track. The cars, although lacking the pace to keep up with the front runners, performed reliably. The pit crew were seamless, clearly having practiced sufficiently over the winter break. And both drivers, Sergio and Esteban, had a steady race and drove faultlessly. All key points which will work in their favour as the season develops and the team improves on the cars’ pace.
This is echoed by the drivers and the team:
“It was quite an unlucky weekend for us, but there are still positives to take from this race. We came close to bringing home a point although it was just out of reach,’ said Sergio in the post-race interview. “We will need to move on and keep improving, but I believe we will soon be in a position to battle for points. Hopefully our improvements will come as early as Bahrain. It’s a race where you can overtake and strategy plays a bigger part compared to Melbourne.”
“We certainly had better race pace compared to our qualifying pace, but we are just missing some performance to be up there in the top ten at the moment,” added Esteban. “Things can turn around quickly in Formula One and we will keep pushing over the next two weeks to bring something extra to Bahrain.”
Deputy Team Principal Robert Fernley said on behalf of the team, “Ultimately we didn’t have the pace this weekend to fight in the top ten and so we’ve ended our day on the cusp of the points. It’s early days in the season and with twenty races to go there will be plenty of opportunities to develop this car and show our strengths.
“We’re on a learning curve with the developments we introduced this weekend and there’s more in the pipeline for Bahrain. Both drivers drove well today, but the luck didn’t play into our hands with the timing of the safety car, for example. Following other cars closely was tough and Sergio was right on the tail of Sainz in the final few laps but there was no way to overtake. We will work hard to be stronger at the next race in Bahrain.”