Mallya: Podium target no pipe dream

Force India boss Vijay Mallya thinks his team is firmly on track to achieve its target of scoring podiums within two years, judging by the upturn in pace it enjoyed at the British Grand Prix

Mallya: Podium target no pipe dream

Although the team has not scored a point yet this season, Giancarlo Fisichella's 10th place finish in an upgraded car at Silverstone has raised optimism about making the top eight soon.

And on the back of that showing, Mallya is convinced that the second half of this season should deliver some reasons to be confident about the future.

"I think this upgrade showed that the car is now a true, strong midfield competitor," said Mallya. "The bottom line is that we're there, and all that I had programmed for the team in terms of gradual improvement in 2009 is happening.

"Given our relatively small size, this is a great achievement and we'll keep going flat out up to the mandatory August break.

"I hope that we will score some points during the remainder of this season. Otherwise I'm more than just optimistic - in fact I'm pretty confident - that from 2010 onwards we will be in the points on a regular basis. And that leads me to believe that my often stated objective of being on the podium in 2011 isn't a pipe dream anymore."

Force India has refined the upgrade since the British GP, and will introduce revisions to the front wing assembly and floor for this weekend's race in Germany.

Mallya says he is hugely encouraged by the efforts being made by his staff - even though hard results have not yet come on track.

"To be beating cars like the McLarens, the BMWs, and the Renaults says a lot for a small team like Force India," he said. "At Silverstone there were no luck stories, like it rained or some extraordinary event happened.

"This is pure racing and that's what gives me the confidence that we'll get there. I can only really say more when we actually get points in our pocket. The commitment of the team and the guys in the factory is fantastic. And not only are we running well, our preparation is also top notch.

"Adrian's car was a wreck after qualifying but in effect they built up a new car overnight and Adrian took the start. It was a great effort. The entire team is so motivated now; they're going that extra mile. Everybody was pleased with the Silverstone performance, and I think this gives them the confidence that they can actually do it."

Fisichella is equally encouraged about the steps forward being made by the team, which has left the team as a regular challenger to get into Q2 now.

"Last year we were struggling at some of the tracks to race with other teams and sometimes I would have very lonely races, but this season we've been right there fighting," he explained. "It's very encouraging.

"Every part we've put on the car this year has made a difference in performance so we're clearly going in the right direction. It's very motivating for the team and for me personally as a driver. When you're in the hunt you want it so much more."

He added: "This time out I want to get into Q2, which I think should be possible, and then with a better starting position hopefully we'll be able to finish higher. We're so close to the points I want to finish the job now.

"For the team it would be a huge boost. Everyone works really hard and to be this close is actually a bit frustrating. To get this weight off our shoulders would really set us up for the rest of the season."

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