21-23 Nov | Yas Marina
|(P6) Nico Hulkenberg||+62.1 secs|
|(P7) Sergio Perez||+71.0 secs|
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Who we are - A Growing Force
Sahara Force India Formula One Team is one of just 11 competitors in the FIA Formula One World Championship. The cars incorporate the colours of the Indian flag and the team is a sporting representation of the emerging generation of young, aspirational Indians, and the growing strength of India as a nation.
The Sahara Force India team was born in late 2007 after Dr Vijay Mallya, Chairman of India’s iconic UB Group and Kingfisher Airlines, joined forces with the Mol family, the co-owners of what was then the Spyker team. The 2008 season was about establishing a base from which to proceed, with veteran Giancarlo Fisichella joined by promising young talent Adrian Sutil to drive the Ferrari-powered VJM01. Indeed Adrian provided the highlight of the season, running a brilliant fourth in the closing stages of a wet Monaco Grand Prix until he was pushed off the road by Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari. It was a difficult building year that saw the team finish 10th in the championship.
Meanwhile Dr Mallya was putting the pieces in place for future growth. Key among them was a switch for 2009 to Mercedes power and gearboxes from McLaren Applied Technologies. The change provided the team with a solid starting point from which to develop the VJM02.
The improvement in form was immediately obvious, as Fisichella and Sutil moved up the grid and began to challenge for points. Adrian was running a strong sixth in the rain in China when he unfortunately slid off the road.
The car had traditionally favoured faster circuits, and at Spa Fisichella took a shock pole position and then finished a brilliant second to Raikkonen in the race. By the next event at Monza the Italian was himself driving for Ferrari and third driver Tonio Liuzzi was promoted to a Force India race seat.
At that race Adrian underlined the speed of the car by qualifying second, setting fastest lap, and finishing fourth. At season’s end Force India had moved up to ninth in the World Championship.
Sutil and Liuzzi continued the team’s improving form into 2010. Adrian became a regular points-scorer, taking a best of fifth place in both Malaysia and Belgium, while Tonio had less luck but earned a good sixth in Korea. The progress was emphasised by seventh place in a championship which now included 12 teams, while Adrian earned 11th in the drivers’ version.
In 2011 the team continued to move forward as reserve driver Paul Di Resta was promoted to a race seat alongside Sutil, and Nico Hülkenberg joined as third driver. Adrian and Paul challenged for points at nearly every race, and the team ultimately earned sixth place, narrowly missing out on fifth. Paul was the best placed rookie in 13th, while Adrian was an excellent ninth, beaten only by the drivers from Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes.
A highlight of the season was the team’s participation in the first ever Indian Grand Prix, an event that was preceded by the historic announcement on October 12th of a new partnership with Sahara India Pariwar, a leading promoter and patron of sports in India. The ownership of the team is now split between Dr Mallya (42.5%), Sahara India Pariwar (42.5%), and the Mol family (15%).
Sahara India Pariwar is a major corporate entity with a diversified portfolio of business verticals. Its Chief Guardian, Subrata Roy Sahara's unique leadership qualities and values has inspired it to scale ever new heights of success.
Over the years, Sahara India Pariwar has raised the bar of sports promotion in India as it now rides like a colossus across the Indian sporting landscape. Its bouquet of sporting initiatives now moves across almost the complete sports spectrum, beginning with its enduringly fascinating support to the very popular game of cricket and famously showcasing its universal vision of sports in the form of its relatively recent association with Formula One. It is a happy co-incidence that Sahara's newest sporting foray offers a fillip to the fast growing popularity of Formula One in India. The celebration of the spirit of sports expresses Sahara's passionate belief that sports helps foster multi-cultural values to harmonize better relations between individuals and nations.
For more information on Sahara India Pariwar, please click here
2012 saw test driver Hülkenberg promoted to a race seat alongside Di Resta, while promising Frenchman Jules Bianchi joined as reserve driver for the VJM05. The team’s path of growth did not stop, and both drivers achieved excellent results in one of the most competitive seasons in recent years. Sahara Force India broke the 100-point barrier, scoring in 16 out of 20 races and mixing with the sport’s top teams.
Among some great results, the highlights of the season were fourth places by Paul Di Resta in the Singapore Grand Prix and an equal result for Nico Hülkenberg in the Belgian Grand Prix. In addition, the team very nearly tasted victory in the thrilling season finale in Brazil, where Nico led for thirty laps in changing conditions before eventually finishing fifth.
Adrian Sutil's return for the 2013 season saw his partnership with Paul Di Resta resumed. The pair produced some impressive performances at the wheel of the competitive VJM06, with Paul achieving a career-best fourth place in Bahrain and Adrian finishing fifth in Monaco with a gutsy performance. The team challenged for fifth place in the Constructors' Championship for most of the year, despite a mid-season change in regulations that affected the car's performance; a good string of results starting at the team's home race in India ensured the team reclaimed sixth place by the end of the championship.
The ever-increasing confidence in the team's performance was reflected by high-caliber appointments for the team’s 2014 lineup, with Nico Hulkenberg returning to partner new recruit Sergio Perez in what is regarded to be one of the most interesting driver pairings in Formula One.
A brief history of Sahara Force India View More »
Adrian Sutil returns to the team to partner Paul Di Resta, recreating the pairing that achieved the team’s best ever Championship position of sixth in 2011. Halfway through the season, James Calado is announced as third driver.
The new VJM06 proves competitive from the start, with Sutil leading the opening race in Australia and the team scoring a double point finish; Di Resta is on form, matching his best-ever result with fourth in Bahrain and scoring in seven in the first eight races, while Sutil goes on a giant-killing mission in Monaco to finish fifth in a race peppered with overtakes. The mid-season point sees dramatic rule changes that affect the car’s performance, but the team bounces back in the last races of the season, scoring crucial points at home in India and in Abu Dhabi to secure sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
Nico Hülkenberg gets promoted from his role as reserve driver to join Paul Di Resta, with Formula Renault 3.5 ace Jules Bianchi nominated as team tester.
The season starts positively, Di Resta opening the team’s points tally in Australia and both drivers scoring in the following race in Malaysia; it is a prelude to a positive European season which culminates in double-scoring results in Monaco and Valencia. Hülkenberg is on song in Spa-Francorchamps and records a career-best fourth place, with Di Resta equalling this results two races later in Singapore. In the final race of the season, an inspired performance by Nico in treacherous conditions sees the Sahara Force India VJM05 in the lead for 30 laps before finally settling down in fifth .
The team finishes seventh in the standings but with an impressive points haul and the confidence of being able to challenge the front runners on merit.