Force India made a promising start to the 2015 F1 World Championship when Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez drove their VJM08-Mercedes cars to seventh and 10th respectively in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
After only 15 cars started the season-opening race, just 11 crossed the finishing line due to a combination of reliability issues and on-track collisions, but the Silverstone team avoided any of the drama and produced a solid showing, despite limited pre-season running, to scoop seven points in the Constructors’ Championship.
Hulkenberg said: “This was a great way for us to start the season. The new car was delayed at the beginning of the year and we lost some time to other teams, but I think we can see that this did not prevent us from being in a good position to challenge here in Australia.
“The new car felt good to drive and I’m sure we have good development in the chassis, so we can only improve further as the season progresses.”
Perez added: “I would have liked to finish higher in the points but to start my season with a point is no bad thing. The team deserve some luck and to get both cars to the finish in a difficult race for many is pleasing.”
The part Bicester-based Toro Rosso team celebrated a points-scoring finish for Carlos Sainz Jr., with the young Spaniard finishing his debut Grand Prix in ninth.
It was almost a double points-scoring day for the team, but 17-year-old Max Verstappen, also making his F1 debut, was forced out of the race with engine failure.
Sainz added: “Both of our team cars qualified well for the race and I think we can see that we have a good car this year. I am pleased to start my year with a top 10 finish and am now looking for another good race in Malaysia.”