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Force India plans major F1 upgrades for Bahrain and Spanish GPs

Force India is planning on introducing major upgrades to its car in both Bahrain and Spain following successful trials in Formula 1 pre-season testing

The team ran a number of updates during last week's second test at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, with the plan now to refine them before running them on the VJM09.

Chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer told Autosport: "Testing was very, very solid for us.

"We made further introductions [of parts] in the second test, which we got some good data out of, and we'll be developing them for both Bahrain and Spain.

"Initially we've some aero upgrades for Bahrain, and then for Spain there will be some suspension and further aero upgrades.

"Right now we are currently revising them so they are more significant when we put them on the car.

"There will be more parts coming, after we see how competitive we are relative to the others, then there will be a point where we switch [focus] to 2017 given the regulation change is huge."

Szafnauer is fully expecting the team to be pushing at the head of the midfield when the season starts in Australia, given the form it showed in testing.

"Looking at long-run pace, I think we will be in a similar position to where we ended the [2015] season," added Szafnauer.

"That means at some races we will be just ahead of Williams, at other races they will be just ahead of us.

"But in the mix between Toro Rosso, Red Bull and ourselves, I don't think there will be much in it.

"At least this year we're right in that mix, whereas at the start of last season we were quite far away."

MALLYA STILL COMMITTED

Szafnauer, meanwhile, says co-owner and team principal Vijay Mallya remains fully committed to the team despite ongoing financial issues in his home country of India.

"I'm sure he's dealing with a lot of things," said Szafnauer.

"But as far as the team goes, it's about how well we can perform, where our relative performance lies, and what can we do to improve it.

"Every time I talk to him, which is a few times a week, he asks me about the performance of the car. That's his main focus.

"He just wants to know where we are, how quick we're going to be, when the next upgrade is coming.

"That's what he should be asking me. Every discussion is about that.

"The racer in him comes out, that's what he wants us to do and exactly what we focus on."

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