Clever management on a shoestring budget has produced impressive results
Formula 1 being all about people – good technical people primarily but also drivers, managers, mechanics and money-procurers – Force India are a case study in putting it all together. Of course they have to be seen in the context of their budget, which is much smaller than that of Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren, but is also far less than that of Williams and Toro Rosso. Yet time and time again, Force India emerge from anonymous qualifying days with strong drives into the points. It reeks of good in-the-field management, good drivers and logical prioritising.
“Force India emerge from anonymous qualifying with strong drives into the points”
Technical director Andy Green has done a nice job with the VJM07, particularly since he’s still organising a tech department with around 15 teraflops of CFD power – about 10-12 behind the leading teams. The team also wisely chose the Mercedes gearbox-within-a-gearbox transmission/rear suspension system, giving them a decent back end when all else fails.
They also have two very fast drivers. Sergio Pérez has a Button-like feel for power application and Nico Hülkenberg is quite capable of winning a string of F1 races should his car permit.
Among the mid-field teams, Vijay Mallya has done a uniquely good job in selling a shareholding to, and obtaining sponsorship from, a major international player (Sahara). And unlike other team owners who come and go according to the size of their ego and their access to other people’s money, Vijay’s in it for the long haul: he hires his drivers on merit and he employs good people.
Sergio Pérez on the podium at Bahrain: team boss Vijay Mallya hires his drivers on merit