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Force India Formula 1 team revelling in McLaren's 2014 struggles

Force India and McLaren, Chinese GP 2014, Shanghai

Force India is revelling in beating ex-technical partner McLaren in this season's Formula 1 constructors' title race, according to deputy team principal Bob Fernley.

Vijay Mallya's squad led McLaren for the first half of last year's battle, until its competitiveness faded following Pirelli's decision to tweak its tyre compounds in the face of repeated blowouts.

Force India currently lies third in the 2014 constructors' championship, 11 points ahead of McLaren, which has failed to score in the last two races.

Fernley reckons it will be difficult for Force India to raise its level to that of frontrunner Mercedes, or Red Bull, but he is hopeful the Silverstone-based outfit can continue to fight Ferrari and remain ahead of McLaren across the rest of the campaign.

"Lotus are struggling at the minute and are not where they want to be and McLaren would be our next competitor and they're struggling too. I'm not in the slightest bit sad about that - may their problems not be too insignificant!" Fernley told AUTOSPORT.

"It would be hard for us to compete with Red Bull and Mercedes. It's not going to be easy for us to [continue to] compete with Ferrari, but for as long as we can, we will."

Nico Hulkenberg fought Ferrari's Fernando Alonso in each of the first two races and Fernley said this represented a "major step" for Force India, despite the fact Hulkenberg finished a distant sixth to Alonso's third in China.

"If you look at our historical results we tend to be a bit up and down, whereas now we're absolutely consistent across the circuits," Fernley added.

"If you look at Ferrari, they're probably the exact opposite to us: Bahrain was an Achilles' heel for them and in China they fit in much better.

"It's just the DNA of the designs in some cases.

"If you look at Australia and Malaysia, Nico and Fernando were battling all the way through, so you get that bit in the middle as well.

"We come out of this [early part of the season] feeling quite pleased."

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