Mallya: Mixed feelings on team's progress

Force India boss Vijay Mallya admits he has mixed feelings about the progress his team have made this year

Mallya: Mixed feelings on team's progress

While the Indian billionaire is happy with the technical progress his team have made since his takeover of the outfit last year, he confesses that he is disappointed they are not further up the grid.

"When people ask whether I can be satisfied with this progress, honestly I think we have to say yes and no," said Mallya. "Yes, because compared to where we were last year, we're clearly more competitive.

"We are racing teams with far higher budgets than we have, and beating them on occasion. I have two strong, hungry drivers who have delivered, and I have a very solid basis to build on.

"No, because if someone says they are happy with being at the back they are clearly lying! I would have liked to be in Q2 by now, and have a few points on the board, but that is a measure of how tough F1 has got this year."

Mallya believes that his team must still keep aiming to do better, and he wants them to score at least one world championship point in the final five races of the campaign.

"Monza will be hard for us, but just because it is hard, we cannot stop pushing," he explained. "Before the end of the year I would really like to get at least one point. It may ultimately be out of our reach, but we can't ever lose sight of the aims."

The team's chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne sees reason to be optimistic for the final races of the year - and he praised the efforts of Adrian Sutil.

"I think we can go to Monza in fairly good spirits," said Gascoyne. "The team worked well over the last weekend and both drivers can be positive about the end result.

"Certainly Adrian drove an excellent race to catch the works Hondas and again in the closing stages on the dry tyres in the wet conditions. I think he has again showed how he has matured and can take very controlled risks, which is promising for races where we could get wet conditions such as Singapore, Fuji and Brazil."

Sutil himself believes Force India are now rivals to works team Honda, who have slipped down the order in recent races.

"I think Honda are our closest rivals now, and I think this will be the case in Italy," he said. "We had a good test there last week and I think we have a good baseline set-up, we just need to work hard as we have done before and then take advantage of any chances that come our way."

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