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febbraio 23, 2017 - Sahara Force India

2017 Sahara Force India Press Pack

Q&A with Vijay Mallya

Team Principal


Vijay, 2017 is the tenth year of Sahara Force India competing in Formula One. That’s quite a milestone…

“I’m very proud of the journey we have taken over the last ten seasons to become an established Formula One team #racing at the sharp end of the grid. When I think back to 2008 and the task facing us, it’s remarkable to see the progress we have made and the way the team has evolved. Everybody associated with this team deserves huge credit for the achievements of 2016 and I still regard our fourth place finish as one of my proudest moments.”


Can the team keep delivering at this level going forward?

“We don’t underestimate the scale of the challenge ahead of us, especially with the sport undergoing a huge overhaul of the technical regulations. Simply repeating our performance level of 2016 will be a big task in itself. I don’t want to set goals or targets other than to say that we intend to maintain the momentum we have built up in recent years and carry it into the new season. There are too many unknowns to say more than this.”


Are you excited by the shake-up of the technical rules?

“I think it’s important that Formula One stands out as the clear pinnacle of motorsport and there’s no doubt this year’s cars will look more aggressive. The drivers always want more speed and hopefully it will excite the fans. The learning curve will be very steep this year, too, so I think each weekend will have a bit more uncertainty, which is good for the show. I’m not convinced that the new cars will generate better wheel-to-wheel #racing, but let’s wait and see what happens.”


The team has a new driver this year with #estebanocon alongside Sergio – it’s an interesting pairing…

“Our philosophy has always been to choose the quickest drivers available and I’m very happy to welcome Esteban to the team. Together with Sergio, I believe we have one of the most exciting line-ups on the grid. Esteban is young but we know he has the raw talent and potential to develop. As for Sergio, he showed last year that he is an exceptional #racing driver. This is his fourth year with us and he has matured to become one of the most complete racers on the grid. He is our benchmark and provides valuable consistency as we enter the new season. Who better for Esteban to learn from?” 


The car has more silver on it this year – tell us the thinking behind the new livery?

“We’ve kept the basic colour scheme that we’ve been running for the last couple of years, but we’ve just freshened up the design slightly. Everybody has been telling me how much they love the colours on our cars so there was no reason to make a radical change. This livery gives our cars a contemporary and premium feel, which works well considering the partners we have on the car.” 

VJM10

Technical Specifications



Q&A with Otmar Szafnauer

Chief Operating Officer


Otmar, new season, new rules and a new driver in the team – there’s plenty to keep you busy…

“All those variables have certainly kept us on our toes over the last few months, but overall I think we are in pretty good shape heading into the new season and the start of testing. 2017 represents a new era for the sport and it’s going to be fascinating to see how things shake out in the early races.” 


2016 was the most successful season in Sahara Force India’s history - what is the secret to the team’s success? 

“It’s hard to try and capture the route of our progress in a simple catchphrase. One of the reasons we have been able to improve year after year is down to the employees and the way we work together. We’ve tried to create a unique environment so that #people enjoy their work, make a genuine contribution and are recognised for their efforts. We’ve also built a team of true racers. We are all extremely competitive and share a burning desire to do well. The unified team spirit and harmony of everybody pulling in the same direction, without internal politics, is a big contributing factor towards our success story.” 


What approach have you taken to the new season to allow for such a big regulation change?

“I think the big difference has been how early we had to switch over all our resources to the design and development of the 2017 car – maybe three months earlier than we have done in previous years. That occurred pretty early in 2016 and from a resource deployment perspective it has been a totally different approach.” 


What have been the main challenges over the winter?

“The main challenge has been getting all the parts manufactured on time to build the car. That’s always the main task of the winter, but this year the cars are completely new and nothing can be carried over from previous years. This has put a bit more pressure on all areas of the factory because there’s no margin for error or breathing space. Even if you’re missing just one component it can delay the debut of the car.”


One variable that remains constant is the powertrain. It’s now the ninth year for the team with Mercedes-Benz power…

“Mercedes continue to do a tremendous job and we enjoy working with them. They have led the way through the V6 era and, although the other manufacturers have closed the gap, I believe their 2017 powertrain will remain the class of the field.”

Have you been able to invest in the factory resources over the winter?

“The big change for 2017 was our ability to laminate the chassis tubs in-house rather than having to rely on outside suppliers. It’s an important step forward and means we have complete control of both scheduling and quality. It saved us a significant amount of time and I’d go as far as saying that these are the best quality chassis we’ve ever produced. We’ve also expanded our machine shop capability, which gives us greater freedom to control the production of some of the mechanical components.”


Is the team still using the wind tunnel in Cologne?

“It remains an important part of our development strategy because it’s still a step ahead of the facility we have in Brackley. However, we know that our competitors have even better tunnels so we can’t be complacent. We need to keep working hard to improve the tool and the accuracy of the data we get from our experiments. We’ve made good progress on the aero side over the last few years and, although we will see completely new aerodynamics on the 2017 car, it’s fair to say that our aero philosophy is very similar to 2015 and 2016.”


How has Esteban settled into the team?

“Esteban’s arrival in the team has gone very smoothly. He’s excited ahead of the season and has been working hard on the simulator to get up to speed. He’s had a very positive impact on the team because we share the same attitude to #racing. Esteban knows we have high expectations and we will strive to create a working environment that will allow him to flourish. If we want to build on the results of 2016, it’s important to have two drivers performing at a high level and we need Esteban on the pace from the start of the season.” 


Sergio is entering his fourth year with the team – what can he achieve in 2017?

“He’s very comfortable in this environment and that shows in the results he has achieved recently. He’s a more rounded driver compared to when he joined us in 2014. Back then, he would sometimes struggle in qualifying, but he’s worked hard to turn qualifying into one of his strengths: he’s on the pace straight away. Sergio has always been a tenacious racer and has the ability to look after the tyres. We are excited to see what he can deliver in this new era of Formula One.”


What are realistic objectives for this team in 2017?

“As a team we have some internal objectives, but it’s very hard for me to verbalise those ambitions because it’s impossible to know what our competitors could achieve given such a huge change of regulations. What I can say is that we have met our internal targets for the car – for example in terms of the aero numbers we set as the goal for the launch car. How those targets compare to our competitors is impossible to say until we hit the track.”


What can we expect from #f1 in 2017? 

“Whenever you mix up the rules it’s bound to introduce some uncertainty. There’s the opportunity for teams to achieve or underachieve and if that happens it will disrupt the status quo. Will the new rules create better racing? Only time will tell. The cars will be significantly faster – not down the straights, but through the corners – but the braking zones will be reduced and that won’t necessarily have a positive impact on overtaking opportunities. I certainly like the aesthetics of the new cars because they remind me of the #racing cars of old. I’m sure they will look spectacular on the track too.”


Q&A with Andrew Green

Technical Director


Andrew, the VJM10 is finally here and it looks fantastic. How did it come to life and was it a complete break from the past?

“The VJM10 is the natural product of the big regulation changes for 2017. We had substantial changes to the aerodynamics, to the chassis and to the tyres – combine those three together and you have a marked departure from previous years, with a lot of new ground to cover and a lot more work to do. There was very little to carry over from last year’s very successful VJM09, which meant a lot more work from both a design and a production perspective.” 


Did you enjoy the challenge of the new rules? Normally regulations are brought in to slow the cars down, not make them quicker…

“There is a lot more scope for aero development - that’s something that opened up the playing field considerably. It’s definitely gone against the grain of previous seasons but we are enjoying the opportunity it creates. To have all this extra freedom to look for performance is a bit of a culture shock, but it’s a very exciting time for us. It makes it much more fun for everyone involved. Every time we develop a new car, especially under a new set of rules, is a challenge but it’s what we do: we relish the challenge; we look forward to seeing everyone else’s solutions and discovering where we sit in the pecking order. The design of a new car always brings problems that need solving, but finding solutions is what we do every day – it’s what engineering is all about.”


Is this the biggest change in rules you have seen in your #f1 career?

“It’s definitely a big overhaul; one that requires a change in mentality. It took a bit of time to adjust at first, but we are there now and I am confident we know where to look and where the performance is coming from in the new car. The development slope is incredibly steep and we are going to see significant updates to the cars at regular intervals, right from the start; it’s going to be big updates and I don’t think development will start to taper off any time soon.”


Pirelli are bringing some new “fat” tyres - how do you expect them to affect the racing?

“The new tyres are not only bigger, but Pirelli is also trying new solutions. We have a lot of learning to do on this front when we get trackside: it’s going to be a challenge, especially at a track like Barcelona in the winter, not exactly the ideal time and place to be tyre testing. The target from Pirelli was to have tyres with lower degradation, but as a team we do not really know what to expect until we get to the track. We have seen the available data, of course, but it’s just theory – we are looking forward to running them for the first time and correlating our tyre models with real data. That’s when the work really starts. The tyres are the same for everyone and it will be crucial to get a handle on them early: we have very capable tyre engineers within the team and we’ll get on top of that as soon as we get the data.”


The VJM09 finished 2016 as one of the strongest cars of the season. What can we expect from its successor?

“That’s the million dollar question! As far as we are concerned, we do not really know whether we have done a good job or not until the moment we get the car on track and compare the data we get on paper with what we get in real life. We know we have done the best job that we can, and we think we are heading in the right direction, but until we get to Melbourne and into qualifying we won’t really know exactly where we stand. As always, there is a little bit of apprehension at this stage in the season – that fear of having missed anything obvious or the hope we have managed to exploit the majority of what we could to the best of our capabilities. I hope it’s the latter! The car has run well in the simulator and we have no reason to doubt the data we get from the wind tunnel, which gave us very good correlation to the track over the last few years. If we can get the performance we see from the tunnel onto the track, we should be in reasonable shape and have a good car to start the season.” 


Of course, we have a new face in the cockpit in the shape of #estebanocon. What do you think of the team’s latest recruit?

“After three years of stability on the drivers’ side, we have a new kid on the block, and we’re very much looking forward to working with him. He’s a huge talent, we knew that already from the tests he has done with us, and he’s also a really nice guy, which always helps. We’ve had several sessions with him in the simulator already and it’s all gone very well. It was important to have a successful seat fit: he’s not the shortest driver in the world and it’s always good to get a driver of that size comfortable in the car. He’s a really good addition to the team.”


With just days to the first test and a month to the first practice session of the season, are you eager to go back to track or wishing for a few extra days of development?

“We just want to go #racing again! When we got towards the end of last year we got a bit tired, as the season was running down and we were pushing really hard to get the fourth place we wanted. It was exhausting, but we did it, we achieved our goal and we could enjoy the Christmas break. Now, everyone is just champing at the bit, wanting to go #racing again, which is great to see. We are a real #racing team, full of pure racers – you can see that, we just want to get on. The new season is an opportunity for us – an opportunity to do something unexpected. We are optimistic about our chances and we are well aware that, on a season like this, you have to make hay early and take the opportunities that arise. Bring it on.”

Q&A with Sergio Perez

Race Driver


It’s almost three months since you were last in an #f1 car – you must be ready to get back behind the wheel…

“I’m really excited and looking forward to seeing this year’s cars. The new rules represent a massive change for everyone in the team and for me as a driver. After the long winter and preparation at the factory, you simply want to get out on track and experience your new car.”  


How did you spend the off-season?

“It’s been a mixture of relaxation and lots of training. It was nice to go home to Mexico and see my friends and family because it’s not something I can do often during the #racing season. Also, this year my training schedule has been much busier because I need to be ready for the massive physical challenge of the 2017 cars.


Have you done anything different this winter on the fitness front?

“I’ve not really changed that much, but just spent more time doing the same things. Normally I would spend the month before testing doing intensive training, but this year I’ve been working really hard for two and a half months. I’ve been training in the hot weather too.”


What will be the biggest change compared to last year?

“It’s going to be the energy and force you feel through the corners. It’s going to be much more physical with bigger lateral forces. Also, I expect less degradation with this year’s tyres so the rhythm of the races is going to be faster with less drop-off. I really hope that these new regulations will test us as drivers and put us under pressure. Formula One needs to expose who are the best drivers over two hours and I think the new rules are taking us in this direction.”


How are you getting on with your new teammate Esteban?

“I don’t know Esteban that well yet, but he seems very friendly. I’ve always got on well with my teammates and my relationship with Nico [Hulkenberg] was very open so I think it will be the same with Esteban. I hope we can push each other hard because it’s important to have somebody next to you who can really challenge you. That’s what the team needs too.”


This is your fourth season with Sahara Force India. You must know the team inside out by now…

“The time here has gone really quickly. We’ve had an incredible amount of success in the last three years and I want this fourth year to be even better. Knowing everybody makes a massive difference because you feel as though you are part of the family, which is especially important when you start working with a new set of regulations.”


What are your personal goals for the new season?

“My target is to improve on what we achieved last year, which will be a big challenge. I hope that we can be one of the surprises of the season and I even dream that we can achieve our first victory together. This is a pure #racing team; everybody understands their role and we all work well together. That’s why I believe we can keep delivering in 2017.”



Q&A with Esteban Ocon

Race Driver


Esteban, you’re entering your first full season of Formula One – share your emotions with us…

“I’m very excited ahead of the season and the beginning of this new era of Formula One. The winter has gone massively quickly and the whole team has been working very hard to help me prepare for this new chapter. There is so much to take in and learn, and lots of new #people to meet, but I’m feeling at home already. The main emotion is simply one of excitement and anticipation.”


What are your first impressions of working with this team? What makes Force India special?

“I would say two words: atmosphere and motivation – that’s what stands out about this team. It really feels like a family and everybody is motivated to deliver the best possible car and great results. I’m really impressed by the feeling inside the factory.”


How steep will your learning curve be in 2017?

“You can always learn more. Even if you have started 100 races, you can still improve. I think the nine races I did last year have helped me to discover some of the main challenges you face as a Formula One driver. I’ve learned where you need to put your focus and energy. I don’t feel like a rookie anymore and this team needs me to be on the pace straight away and getting strong results. I feel ready for this opportunity.”


What were the main jobs over the winter?

“The seat fit was the main priority and being comfortable in the car is very important because the new cars will be even more physical to drive compared to last year. I’ve done lots of simulator sessions, too, and spent time with my engineering team.”


Tell us how intense your fitness regime has been over the last few months…

“I’ve been taking my fitness very seriously because the cars are going to be so much quicker this year. Instead of a two-week training camp, I’ve already done two full months at altitude in the Pyrenees. The training has been very high intensity and I’ve focussed on gaining some weight to help my strength. I’ve also done visualisation and reaction work because quicker cars mean you need to make decisions faster.”


What can we expect from the 2017 cars in terms of their physicality?

“You will feel the extra force of the cars all over your body, not just in your neck. For example, the braking pressure to stop the car will be much higher so you need the strength in your legs. The g-force will increase everywhere – under braking and in corners – so it’s going to be a more physical experience.”


What about your new teammate Sergio? How are you getting along together?

“I don’t know him very well yet, but we spoke a few times towards the end of last year during the drivers’ parades. We spoke about this team and why he wanted to stay here. He’s a great guy and I look forward to learning from him because he is an excellent driver who has achieved some awesome things with this team.”


What are your goals for this season?

“I’ve got to aim to score points at every race. That’s the level of this team and I will be disappointed if we don’t start the season with some good results. I know it’s not going to be easy and all the teams around us are going to be strong, but we’ve got to aim high. The first goal is to make the most of testing and develop the car in the best direction. After two weeks in Barcelona we will hopefully have a better idea of what to expect in Melbourne.”







10 years in Stats



Feel the Fourth: the 2016 season


Best ever Championship position: 4th with 173 points 

Beaten the previous points record, 155 in 2014 (when the final race had double points).

2 podiums, 30 points finishes (out of 42 possible), 12 double-points finishes (out of 21 possible).

Finished in the points in 18 out of 21 races.

Scored 159 out of 173 points after the Spanish GP (Round 5). 

Qualifying: 32 times in Q3/top 10 (before penalties are applied). 

Classified in 38 out of 42 race finishes; on the lead lap in 26 of 42. 

Sergio Perez was the driver with the second highest number of completed laps – 1205 of a possible 1212.

Highest championship position ever for an SFI driver- Sergio Perez with P7.

Sergio Perez – Profile

Race Driver


During his three-year tenure at Sahara Force India, Sergio Perez has matured into one of the fastest drivers on the grid, surprising the world of Formula One with a string of giant-killing results that established him as a leading force in the sport. At 27 and in the wake of his most successful season in his career, he can match the hunger for more success with the experience of six seasons at the forefront of the sport.


Born in 1990 in Mexico, Sergio comes from a motorsport family: having raced cars himself, his father Antonio was active in driver management. In this environment, it was natural for young Sergio to start his career in karting at the age of six, winning junior categories and quickly progressing to shifter karts.


A move to single-seaters at the age of 14 and the start of a long-standing partnership with Escuderia Telmex saw him take part in the Skip Barber National Championship in the United States; the following year, in 2005, Sergio moved to Europe to compete in Formula BMW.


After two years in this category, including a two-race stint in A1GP for Team Mexico, Sergio graduated to British Formula Three, dominating the National Class in 2007 and claiming four wins on his way to fourth in the International Class in 2008. A first appearance in the GP2 Asia Series saw him complete a lights-to-flag win in Bahrain and earn a call-up to GP2.


In his second year in the Formula One feeder series, Sergio won races in prestigious venues such as Monaco, Silverstone, Hockenheim, Spa-Francorchamps and Abu Dhabi to mount a title challenge and finish runner-up to Pastor Maldonado. His performance earned him promotion to Formula One with Sauber.


In his first season in the pinnacle of motorsport, in 2011, five finishes in the points helped cement his position in Formula One. Confirmed at Sauber for 2012, he claimed three podiums, including two second places, on his way to tenth in the Drivers’ Championship (66 points). Sergio demonstrated an incredible ability to extract the best out of the car in changing weather conditions, pushing eventual winner Fernando Alonso closely in Malaysia and performing incredible comebacks in Canada and Italy.


A move to McLaren for 2013, replacing Lewis Hamilton alongside former World Champion Jenson Button, gave Sergio vital experience of the workings of a top team: 11 points finishes, including four consecutive ones in the final four races in the season, set him up as a consistent driver, earning him a place in the Sahara Force India Formula One team line-up for 2014.


Checo’s life at Sahara Force India started in the best possible way, with a podium in only his third race with the team. Some memorable performances in Canada, Austria and Singapore among others, saw the Mexican claim 12 points finishes on his way to tenth in the championship.


2015 turned out to be an even better season for the young driver from Guadalajara: an impressive string of points finishes in the second part of the season, crowned with a podium performance at the Russian Grand Prix, saw Checo clinch a career-best ninth place in the standings (78 points) while propelling the team to fifth in the constructors’ championship. It was a memorable year for Checo, who also experienced the emotion of taking part in his first home Grand Prix in Mexico.


2016 turned out to be an even more spectacular season for Sergio. An incredible podium under the rain in Monaco heralded the start of a strong run of form destined to last the whole season; a further visit to the rostrum in Azerbaijan and a string of ten consecutive points finishes saw the Mexican break through the 100-points barrier for the first time in his career (and in the history of the team) and clinch seventh place in the drivers’ standings, a lifetime best. It was a just reward for the talented Checo, who was confirmed for the 2017 season, alongside a new team-mate, to continue pushing the team to new heights.


Sergio Perez CV

Date of birth:26 January 1990 (27)

Born:Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico

Lives:Neuchâtel, Switzerland 

Weight:68kg 

Height:1.75m

Marital Status:Single



Esteban Ocon – Profile

Race Driver


Few talents can be held responsible for the emotions and the expectations that #estebanocon elicits. The young Frenchman’s Formula One appearances may be numbering in the single digits, but there is little doubt over the skills of the latest Force India recruit.


Having started karting at the age of four, Esteban claimed the first major piece of silverware in 2007 – the French Minime Championship. The winning streak continued in 2008, as the young Norman won the French Cadet Championship, the final accolade before making the jump to international #racing. A French KF3 title and second place in the WSK Euro Series followed, marking the end of a successful karting career for him.


The switch to single-seaters saw Esteban balance Eurocup and Alps Formula Renault 2.0 campaigns in 2012, claiming podiums in both, before a switch to ART Junior Team for 2013 resulted in third place in the Eurocup standings. 


Following a first appearance in the famous Macau Grand Prix, the Frenchman made the jump to Formula 3 in 2014. #racing for Prema Powerteam, the season proved a huge success, Ocon winning the title with a round to spare after leading the standings for the entire campaign. Signed up to the Mercedes AMG #f1 junior programme, the year saw Esteban also get his first taste of Formula One, taking part in Free Practice with Lotus at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. 


Continuing his lightning-quick progression in the sport, 2015 brought a promotion to the GP3 Series with ART Grand Prix: against a strong field, Esteban claimed one win on the way to the championship. The talented youngster was also introduced to Sahara Force India for the first time, driving in the Barcelona in-season test and impressing with his professional attitude and natural speed.


The 2016 season initially seemed to be one of transition for Esteban, who switched to the challenge of DTM as part of his Mercedes affiliation. However, halfway through the season, the big break came in the form of a call-up to Manor to compete in the remainder of the Formula One season. Despite an uncompetitive car he had never tried before, the Frenchman showed moments of class, nearly scoring his debut points in the rain-affected Brazilian Grand Prix. 


The move to Sahara Force India as part of a multi-year contract marks the next step in Esteban Ocon’s career. Stepping into a competitive team will allow him to display his innate class, contributing to the growth of the team and allowing him to fight at the sharp end of the field.

Esteban Ocon CV

Date of birth:17 September 1996 (20)

Born:Évreux, France

Lives:France

Weight:68 kg

Height:185 cm

Marital Status:Single



Alfonso Celis – Profile

Test Driver


Alfonso Celis Enecoiz Jr. is the latest product of Mexico’s rich vein of talented drivers that produced Sahara Force India’s star, the country’s current Formula One hero Checo Perez. Born in Mexico City in 1996, the young Alfonso took part in kart #racing in his home country before making his open-wheel debut in the regional LATAM Challenge Series in 2011. The promise shown in this championship, paired with the storming success in the Campeonato Turismos de Velocidad, a touring series, prompted a move to Europe for 2012, a year in which he competed in the Formula BMW Talent Cup. In just five races, he was able to finish eighth in the finale at Motorsport Arena Oschersleben, clinching a podium, his second of the series, in the third race of the weekend.

Alfonso was signed by Fortec Motorsport for a 2013 programme which included full participation in the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC season, as well as entries in the British and European Formula 3 championships. The young Mexican acquitted himself well, with eleven points-scoring finishes, placing him 14th in the standings with the added bonus of a podium in the season finale in Zandvoort. The year also featured a good showing in the winter Panam GP Series, in which Alfonso finished third behind Ferrari Academy driver Antonio Fuoco, claiming two podiums in the process.

2014 saw Alfonso graduate to the global GP3 Series, joining Status Grand Prix. It was to be a transition season for the Mexican, who learnt a lot during the year and steadily improved as the season progressed, finally scoring his first points with a fine seventh place in the Sprint race in Russia. A move to ART Grand Prix in 2015 brought immediate results, with points in the first race in Barcelona and the highlight of a podium in Belgium on the way to 12th in the final standings. He also raced in Formula Renault 3.5 with AVF picking up a season-best fourth place finish at the Nurburgring #event.

The big break for the Mexican driver came at the post-season Formula One Pirelli tyre test in Abu Dhabi, where Alfonso did a fine job in his first appearance for Sahara Force India. Getting to know the VJM08 in the car’s final official appearance, the man from Mexico City completed 65 laps without issues, showing his prowess with the powerful machinery at his disposal. The successful test led to a position as Development Driver with Sahara Force India for 2016, a season in which the young Mexican alternated work on the team simulator and participation in six practice sessions with a full campaign in the Formula V8 3.5 Series – with the highlight of a podium at Spa.

As the season progressed, Alfonso showed marked improvement as he got to know the team’s VJM09, impressing in Monza where he set the 12th fastest time in Free Practice 1. The good results obtained in the last season mean that, in 2017, Alfonso will renew his association with the team, continuing on the development path set together with Sahara Force India as Test driver.  

Alfonso Celis Jr. CV


Date of birth:18 September 1996 (20)

Born:Mexico City, DF, Mexico

Lives:Barcelona, Spain

Weight:71kg

Height:1.83m

Marital Status:Single



Key Personnel


Team Principal and Managing Director Dr Vijay Mallya

Chairman & Co-OwnerSubrata Roy Sahara

ShareholderThe Mol Family

Deputy Team Principal Robert Fernley

Chief Operating OfficerOtmar Szafnauer

Technical DirectorAndrew Green

Sporting DirectorAndy Stevenson

Production DirectorBob Halliwell

Aerodynamics DirectorSimon Phillips

Chief DesignerAkio Haga

Chief DesignerIan Hall

Chief EngineerTom McCullough

Race Team Operations ManagerMark Gray

Race Engineer (Car 11)Tim Wright
No 1 Mechanic (Car 11)Andy McLaren

Race Engineer (Car # 31)Brad Joyce
No 1 Mechanic (Car # 31)Will Vickery 

Commercial DirectorStephen Curnow

Head of CommunicationsWill Hings


TeamHistory


Sahara Force India, as the team is now known, was born in late 2007 after Dr Vijay Mallya joined forces with the Mol family, co-owners of the then Spyker team. 

The team’s debut in 2008 saw the new operation finish tenth in the championship, creating the basis for a rapid growth over the following seasons. A switch to Mercedes engines in 2009 helped the team clinch its first pole position, points and podium as Giancarlo Fisichella finished second in the Belgian Grand Prix.

The team’s progression was emphasised by seventh place in the constructors’ championship in 2010, a result improved in 2011 as the new driver pairing of Paul Di Resta and Adrian Sutil lifted the outfit to sixth.

2012 saw the team build on these strong foundations: points were scored in 80% of the races in a season that ended on a high note, with Nico Hülkenberg leading 30 laps in the Brazilian Grand Prix. The team’s point total of 109 set a new record for Sahara Force India.

A wisely-planned pre-season testing period heralded a brilliant start of 2013. A series of double points finishes included a fourth place for Di Resta in Bahrain and fifth place for Sutil on the streets of Monaco. A strong end of the season resulted in the team cementing its sixth position in the standings.

The 2014 season brought many changes. The new pairing of Hülkenberg and Sergio Perez, together with the competitiveness of the VJM07, brought immediate results with Perez ending the team’s five-year wait for a podium in his only third race with Sahara Force India. An impressive 10-race run of consecutive points placements ended mid-season, but the year progressed strongly and resulted in 10 double-point finishes: the team shattered the previous points record, amassing an incredible 155 points.

Having retained the driver line-up, 2015 held much promise for the team - and the season did not disappoint: a strong run of form with the b-spec VJM08, debuted at the home Grand Prix in Silverstone, brought one podium, with Perez in Russia, and a string of results that propelled the team to its first ever top five placement in the championship. 

Success breeds success; but it also generates expectations and the team started the 2016 season with the pressure to build on its previous results. A series of unlucky circumstances saw the team on the back foot in the first few races, but a podium by Perez in Monaco and a repeat performance in Baku turned the season around for the team. Big results kept coming, with a 4-5 finish in Spa launching Force India to fourth place, where the team would eventually finish the season. The best result in the outfit’s history, compounded with Perez crossing the 100-points barrier, a first for a driver of the team, set a new high point in the rise and rise of Sahara Force India.

With the new regulations in force for 2017 providing a potential shake-up in the constructors’ order, Sahara Force India is ready to rise up to the challenge. The arrival of young superstar #estebanocon, to race alongside Perez in one of Formula One’s most exciting line-ups, the renewed hunger for success and the opportunities brought by the new season set the scene for what should be an exciting championship. 

Our Partners


Kingfisher

With over 150 years' heritage, the support of the hugely successful UB Company and over 33 breweries across India, Kingfisher has firmly cemented their position as India’s No.1 beer with a significant 54% market share. Ever since its inception, Kingfisher premium lager has not only succeeded in guarding its No.1 status amongst Indian beers, but has also been able to evolve into one of the most contemporary and aspirational youth icons of today.



Johnnie Walker

Since the brand was founded in 1820, Johnnie Walker has stood for and been a symbol of personal progress. That’s why in 2017 Johnnie Walker decided to further its involvement in Formula One by partnering with one of the sport’s most prominent success stories, Sahara Force India. Building on Sahara Force India’s record 4th place finish in the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship, our partnership brings two brands together that epitomise progress, both on and off the track. The partnership will play a pivotal role in continuing to drive the conversation surrounding the importance of responsible drinking to a global audience through our Join the Pact campaign. With the help of Sahara Force India drivers Sergio Perez and #estebanocon along with Johnnie Walker Global Responsible Drinking Ambassador and former two time Drivers’ World Champion Mika Häkkinen, Join the Pact asks consumers around the world to make a personal commitment to never drink and drive. To date, Join the Pact has led to over 2.8 million #people pledging to never drink and drive with a target of 5 million commitments by the end of 2018. To honour the 5 million commitments Johnnie Walker will give away 5 million kilometres of safe rides home to consumers around the world. 



Claro

Claro is a subsidiary of America Móvil, the largest telecommunications company in Latin America with operations in 16 countries. Claro operates in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panamá, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico and Uruguay. 



Infinitum

Infinitum is the high-speed Internet leader in Mexico. It is a trademark of Telefonos de Mexico S.A.B. de C.V. For more information, visit www.telmex.com.


Telcel

Telcel is a Mexican company with 25 years of experience in wireless telecommunications. Since 1989 Telcel operates with high standards in quality, customer service and innovation, and brings a competitive and comprehensive experience in service, entertainment and productivity. Always at the vanguard, Telcel offers wireless connectivity for voice and data through the networks GSM/GPRS/EDGE and 3G UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/4GLTE. 


Telmex

TELMEX and its subsidiaries provide telecommunications services in Mexico. The Company’s service coverage comprises the operation of the nation’s most complete local and long distance networks. Additionally, TELMEX offers services like connectivity, Internet access, co-location, web hosting and interconnection services to other telecommunications operators. 



Inter

Interprotección is a Mexican group of specialized companies that offer high quality services of insurance and reinsurance brokerage and bonds with 38 years of experience in management consulting and comprehensive risk in the Mexican market and abroad. Serving 5,000 corporate customers of different industries, Interprotección operates in more than 100 countries. Its business model is based on innovation technologies offering innovative services and products that respond to the current environment providing personalized attention and solutions to its customers.



NEC

NEC Corporation is a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies that benefit businesses and #people around the world. By providing a combination of products and solutions that cross utilize the company’s experience and global resources, NEC’s advanced technologies meet the complex and ever-changing needs of its customers. NEC brings more than 100 years of expertise in technological innovation to empower #people, businesses and society. For more information, visit NEC at www.nec.com Based on its Mid-term Management Plan 2015, the NEC Group globally provides “Solutions for Society” that promote the safety, security, efficiency and equality of society. Under the company’s corporate key message of “Orchestrating a brighter world,” NEC aims to help solve a wide range of challenging issues and to create new social value for the changing world of tomorrow. 



Hype

Hype Energy is a functional drinks brand that was first launched in 1994 by Hard Rock Cafe founder, Barry Cox. The current CEO, former international Sportsman, Formula One #racing driver and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, Mr. Bertrand Gachot, has been involved with the brand since 1997. The Hype Energy range includes Hype Energy MFP, MFP Sugar Free, UP, Enlite, MOJITO, AfterDark and 60ml Shot. Hype Energy drinks are currently available in over 45 countries, with trademarks registered in more than 145 countries. The company head offices are located in Dubai, with branches in Europe and the USA. 



Quaker State

Quaker State motor oils have kept engines running smoothly for 150 years. From the engines that win NASCAR races to the engines that take you wherever you need to go, count on our durable motor oils to keep you—and your life—moving forward. Choose a motor oil that will not only keep your motor running under all kinds of road stress but will also keep it running for a long time. Choose a motor oil that is so durable, it still passes critical standards for brand-new motor oil—even when it's ready to be replaced. Choose Quaker State.


Felio Siby

A purveyor of some of the best leathers in the world, manufactured to the highest standards in a time-honoured way, Felio Siby is a reference for customers whose way of life is to find timeless and unique products. This is a vision that has now been extended to watch-making, as the brand embarks on a new venture with the best Swiss watchmakers to redefine the industry. 


Foresight & Vision

Foresight & Vision Ltd is England's leading eyewear company creating premium eyewear under its labels Eye Respect, LDNR, Solo and Pace London. We create, others copy. The very name of our company goes a long way to explaining the motivation behind our existence, Foresight & Vision. Pause and think for a moment...it's much more than a simple pun. Whilst caring for the eyes of our customers, and offering the finest hand-crafted product at the correct price to market, we also set out on our mission to embrace, utilise and promote the work of our skilled artisan craftsmen and factories, and help the wider consumer understand exactly what goes in to landing a pair of our sunglasses or spectacle frames on the end of one’s nose. As befits the world’s most influential and diverse city, the LDNR brand embarks on a journey to represent and stand for all those individuals who pioneer the forward motion spirit that our metropolis generates. LDNR is inspired by the modernist tribes, the heritage dwellers and the infinite detail of our surroundings. Like our city, it is accessible to all. Like our city it lives in the moment. Like us, it is proud to be a LDNR. 



FXTM

The FXTM brand was initially launched in 2011 with a unique vision to provide unparalleled superior trading conditions, advanced education and state-of-the-art trading tools in the forex industry. As a result of a continuous focus on localizing our products and services to suit each market, together with our successful collaboration with talented and experienced teams from all over the world, FXTM was quickly established as the global trademark it is today. Our core mission is centered on the most precious commodity of all – time. By valuing time and understanding the importance of efficiency in the fluctuating, lighting-fast world of financial markets, every decision we make is designed to ensure that our clients and business partners, as well as our team of professionals, invest their time wisely. This road is paved by an ironclad focus on educating our customers. Knowledge is power, and empowering traders to get the best value for their investments is our passion. 



Koni

With more than 150 years' experience in the area of shock absorber solutions KONI has the know-how to optimize a vehicle's driving feeling and handling. As a part of ITT Motion Technologies, KONI develops, manufactures and markets high class performance shock absorbers for all types of cars and commercial vehicles such as rail vehicles, #racing cars, trucks and buses. ITT Motion Technologies is the world leader in the development and production of brake pads and friction materials for the transport and automobile industry.



Orange Bus

Orange Bus designs solutions to complex problems for clients across the private and public sector. Its agency teams create digital strategies, software and experiences solving business challenges for customers including international brands and UK Government departments. As a leader in agile development and emergent technologies, its innovators are matched to projects based on specialist skills in UX, technical engineering and languages, project and account management, quality assurance, and creative design. Client partners invest in user-focused design and technical innovation, and include HMRC, HP, Barbour, Philips, and the NHS. 



Pirelli

Pirelli is among the main tyre makers globally and world leader in the Premium segment, with high technological content. Founded in 1872, it has a presence in over 160 countries, with 20 manufacturing facilities on four continents and 38,000 employees. Pirelli has been involved in motor #racing – a proving ground for technical innovation – since 1907, and is currently the exclusive Formula 1® tyre manufacturer for the 2014-2016 championship seasons, as well as equipping World Superbike and many other global series. For the 2016 season, Pirelli is once more the tyre manufacturer most heavily involved in motorsport. Excluding #formula1, Pirelli supplies nearly 250 other international championships on road and track, underlining the company’s sporting DNA.



Alpinestars

Alpinestars is the world’s premier performance motorsport protection, apparel and footwear company. With over 50 years’ experience in #racing Alpinestars plays a leading role in every major series around the globe, from #formula1, NASCAR, World Endurance Championship and Indycar to MotoGP, world motocross and the Dakar Rally.  With extensive R&D facilities in the US and Europe and a global #racing development program, Alpinestars provides the highest quality, track-tested products incorporating the latest construction technologies for the benefit and enjoyment of both motorsports athletes and customers. Through continuous R&D of innovative technologies, Alpinestars improves its race suits, boots, gloves and technical underwear, resulting in the lightest, most breathable and fit-specific products. Delivering unrivalled comfort and breathability in the cockpit helps reduce driver fatigue and improve concentration – both of which are vital in finding that extra tenth of a second in track performance and, ultimately, the competitive edge.



Schuberth

SCHUBERTH represents head protection made in Germany for more than 70 years. We have already been producing protective helmets of different varieties since the 1940s. From 1954 onwards, motor cyclists were able to wear a helmet of the SCHUBERTH brand. This was the beginning of a success story which continues today. Countless motor bike helmets were produced and sold since the foundation of the company. And countless satisfied customers swear by their “SCHUBERTH”.



Univa

Univa, the Data Center Automation Company, is the leading provider of automation and management software for computational and big data infrastructures. Our products and global enterprise support give our customers the power to manage all of their compute resources, no matter how big or where deployed. Many of the leading brands in the world depend on Univa's unsurpassed expertise, and premier services and support. Univa is headquartered in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, USA, with offices in Markham, ON, Canada, Munich and Regensburg, Germany.


3D Systems

3D Systems is a leading provider of 3D content-to-print solutions including 3D printers, print materials and on-demand custom parts services for professionals and consumers alike. The company also provides creative content development, design productivity tools and curation services and downloads. Its expertly integrated solutions replace, displace and complement traditional methods and reduce the time and cost of designing new products by printing real parts directly from digital input. These solutions are used to rapidly design, communicate, prototype and produce functional parts, empowering its customers to create with confidence. The partnership with 3D Systems allows Sahara Force India to take full advantage of their wind tunnel testing capacity and pioneer new full-scale manufacturing opportunities using 3D Systems additive manufacturing technology.



Farah

Farah has been worn proudly for almost 100 years by some of the world’s most stylish men.  Today, the golden F continues to be a badge of honour amongst creative professionals, musicians and opinion leaders. In a market where brands with heritage often look backwards, Farah looks to what is happening today in order to stay relevant. Proud of an intrinsically British identity which comes from a rich association with the youth cultures and style tribes of the 70s and 80s, Farah has heritage but never relies on it.  Instead, the brands unique story is used to maintain credibility and relevance in today’s world.Farah reinvents men’s casual wear classics to create original new styles which resonate with young men around the globe. 



Branded

Branded designs, develops and distributes licensed merchandise that strengthens our customers’ brand values, increases revenues and connects with the consumers. Our heart is in motorsport and we understand intimately what teams in this arena are looking for – from team requirements and the representation of a brand’s image, to how to make fans feel more connected to their team or driver.  We use these insights to inform every design we produce.



STILL

STILL Materials Handling Ltd offers a full range of material handling equipment for all your needs. From hand pallet trucks and forklift trucks to fully automated warehouse solutions...STILL has the solution. With 7,000 employees worldwide and service centres throughout the UK, we have the infrastructure to support your every material handling requirement. 

- Widest range from a single manufacturer.
- Warehouse equipment with industry leading performance.
- 2,000 short term rental trucks available for hire.
- Quality refurbished trucks readily available.



Condeco

Condeco is the leading provider of integrated meeting room, desk booking and space utilisation technologies. Our robust software and exceptionally designed hardware is the most feature-rich and versatile on the market. Condeco powers your business to change the way you work and manage your real estate more effectively. Millions of #people are using Condeco worldwide, including some of the largest blue chip organisations across the globe. Condeco has offices across America, Asia, Australia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East as well as strategic partners across the world.



Aqueous Guard

Aqueous Guard™, designed and manufactured in the UK by Revolutionary Protective Solutions Ltd, create specialist coatings providing a range of benefits over and above current coatings on the market. Aqueous Guard™ coatings are based on the latest molecular scale technology available, for complete durability and high strength coatings.



UPS Direct

For over twenty years, UPS Direct has specialized in supplying, installing and maintaining no-break power systems from 200VA (160W) up to 4.8MVA (3,840,000W). In addition to their standard Uninterruptible Power Supplies, they also design and build bespoke UPS equipment for use in extreme environments, and where standard 'off the shelf' kit does not suit the application. They initially became involved with the Team in 2005 when asked to investigate why the UPSs failed every 2-3 races. After analysing the failed UPSs, they designed and built a system that has since provided the team with many seasons of #racing reliability.



Motorstore.com

Motorstore.com is an industry leading motorsport e-commerce platform which supports the company’s growth into data, technology and e-commerce. It officially carries authentic #formula1 and Moto GP team lines, including the exclusive Giorgio Piola Signature Collection.



STL Communications

STL Communications provides business telephone systems, lines, calls and mobiles as well as broadband data connections, hosted telephony and applications, audio and video conferencing and contac

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