Force India F1 sceptics can eat their words - Vijay Mallya

Vijay Mallya says those who questioned Force India's ability to compete at a high level can "eat their words" given its fourth place in the 2017 Formula 1 constructors' championship

Force India F1 sceptics can eat their words - Vijay Mallya

Force India has the smallest budget of the 10 teams in F1 and there was doubt over whether it could repeat its fourth place finish of 2016 given the sweeping changes to the technical regulations.

At the team's launch in February, Mallya had angrily hit back at Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul for suggesting small teams would struggle in 2017.

Through impressive in-season development and a strong performance from its drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, Force India comfortably achieved fourth place.

"We set out to achieve third but landed up with fourth for the second year running," Force India boss Mallya said at the Autosport Awards.

"I had many sceptics who I advise to eat their own words and I hope it tastes good.

"I'm very proud that with our limited resource we've been able to punch well above our weight.

"Thanks to Otmar [Szafnauer, chief operating officer] and his leadership, [technical director] Andy Green, [chief engineer] Tom [McCullough], [sporting director] Andy Stevenson.

"I have a great team of racers, with racing in their blood and who know how to make the most of what we have. We never give up.

"The targets for 2018 will be set high again and we're ready for our competition."

Deputy team principal Bob Fernley praised Force India's efforts, particularly as it managed to outscore Renault, Williams and McLaren combined.

Constructors' standings

Pos Constructor Points
1 Mercedes 668
2 Ferrari 522
3 Red Bull/Renault 368
4 Force India/Mercedes 187
5 Williams/Mercedes 83
6 Renault 57
7 Toro Rosso/Renault 53
8 Haas/Ferrari 47
9 McLaren/Honda 30
10 Sauber/Ferrari 5

"Coming in to this season, we were concerned about Renault, Williams and McLaren," Fernley told Autosport.

"The underlying strength of the result is demonstrated in that we have outscored all three of them put together, which is remarkable.

"Credit to everybody. It's not just what we do here, it's also what is going on at the factory. It's a team effort. That's the difference between where we are and where others are sometimes.

"We're a racing team. Reliability is the key. I think we have the second most reliable record behind Mercedes.

"It's not just to do with the power unit. It's a contributor but it's also about the chassis and how the race team is working."

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