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F1 NEWS 

Force India has 'exceeded expectations'

Vijay MallyaForce India boss Vijay Mallya says his team has exceeded its own expectations this season, and is now aiming to be solidly in the midfield next year.

The Silverstone-based squad had not scored any points before this year, but a strong second half of the season has seen Force India emerge as a contender for points and even for podium finishes in some races.

Mallya says Force India can be very proud of its achievements this year, and is optimistic his team can keep its momentum going and be closer to the front in 2010.

"At the start of the year, we wanted points but I also wanted to show a genuine improvement in every area of the company," said Mallya.

"We have learned from the mistakes of last season and have really tightened up processes, procedures and working practices, which has ultimately helped us to score points and be proud of our achievements.

"I would say this year has even exceeded our expectations as we have secured a podium, pole and fastest lap. We can be really proud of this.

"All the same we have had opportunities we haven't been able to make the most of, for example Interlagos, Suzuka and Monza. This slightly mutes the satisfaction, but it does give a lot of cause for optimism - if we can get into a similar position next year and follow through all the chances we could be solid midfield in both championships."

Mallya is also hopeful his team will have a strong final race of the season in Abu Dhabi this weekend, where he is aiming to make up for the disappointment of the Brazilian Grand Prix, where he reckons Adrian Sutil could have finished on the podium.

"Brazil was a missed opportunity to score points. Adrian was in a prime position to get some decent points, perhaps even a podium, but it was not to be," Mallya added.

"But the Abu Dhabi aero configuration is roughly similar to Brazil and Valencia, and even though we can't expect rain, we can expect a reasonable level of performance in qualifying that should put us in a good position for the race.

"We could technically move up a position in the championship as we're just 13 points behind Renault, but it will be tough so we need to consolidate what we have already.

"Toro Rosso have been looking very strong in recent races so it's a matter of personal pride to keep them behind. Ninth place in the championship is one position higher than last year and we need that improvement to validate all the progress we've made this year."

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