Red Bull and Force India deny they will be rivals

Force India and Red Bull agree that the performance gap between them means they are not about to become on-track rivals in Formula 1, despite the small points margin between them.

Red Bull and Force India deny they will be rivals
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10, Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Otmar Szafnauer, Force India Formula One Team Chief Operating Officer in the Press Conference

Another strong points haul from Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon in Spain, with the duo coming home fourth and fifth, means that their Force India outfit is now only 19 points behind Red Bull in the constructors' championship.

But although the deficit could easily be eroded with the way Force India is consistently racking up the points, both outfits concur that there remains a big speed differential between them that will favour Red Bull in the fight.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner said about the Force India challenge: "We haven't had a double finish with our cars for two or three races now, and I think they are doing a great job.

"But I think in pace, there is still quite a significant gap between ourselves and Force India. They are maximising their opportunities that are presented to them, which they are doing a great job with, but I still feel there is a significant gap between teams."

When asked about whether a continuing failure to get both cars home could be a problem for Red Bull though, Horner said: "Yes, but you are not going to have Valtteri Bottas driving into Kimi Raikkonen every weekend…."

Force India COO Otmar Szafnauer agreed that unless his team can unlock a lot more speed from its car then there was not really a realistic shot at overhauling Red Bull.

"We're 19 points behind them now with a quarter of the season gone," he said. "Nineteen points isn't insurmountable, so it's still an objective that is achievable.

"However, to achieve that we need more pace. They are faster than us, they are going to beat us, it's that simple. If everything stays the same they will beat us."

Szafnauer also reckoned that his team could not relax in thinking its fourth position was secure, despite a 32-points advantage over Toro Rosso.

"It's way too early," he said. "Last year at this point I think Williams were 60-something points ahead of us and towards the end we just squeaked it out. That could happen to us, so we've got to keep working hard and make good changes.

"It's competitive. Renault are doing a good job, I wouldn't be surprised if McLaren-Honda improved significantly. I think Williams, their car is ultimately better than ours."

 

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