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F1 season review 2016 - Force India records best ever season with fourth place

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F1 season review 2016 - Force India records best ever season with fourth place
Dec 29, 2016, 4:48 PM

If 2015 was good, 2016 was even better for Force India as the Silverstone-based squad scored its best ever result in the Formula 1 constructors’ ...

If 2015 was good, 2016 was even better for Force India as the Silverstone-based squad scored its best ever result in the Formula 1 constructors’ championship.

After a slow start to the season – the team scored just two points finishes in the first four races – Force India’s fortunes improved significantly when it introduced a major upgrade at the Spanish Grand Prix. The new parts included a new front wing, floor, sidepods and other bodywork – that were designed to improve the handling range of the VJM09.

After the race in Barcelona, the team only failed to score points with at least one car at the Austrian Grand Prix, where severe degradation stopped Nico Hulkenberg from converting his front row grid spot into a good result and both he and Sergio Perez were eventually forced out with brake problems.

Sergio Perez

Force India ended the season with 173 points – its biggest ever haul – and two podiums in one season for the first time in its history (both of which came courtesy of Perez at the Monaco and Baku races). Perez also racked up ten consecutive points finishes from Germany to Abu Dhabi – a run only bettered by Daniel Ricciardo (17 races) and Nico Rosberg (16).

The team overhauled and beat Williams to fourth place in the constructors’ standings, which is one position higher than its finishing position in 2015. Force India’s deputy team principal Bob Fernley hailed the squad’s achievements and outlined his belief that it should try to finish third in the teams’ competition in 2017.

Bob Fernley

Speaking to F1i, he said. “This year we went in with a very clear view of being able to consolidate fifth place but with an eye on fourth. I think we should go in next year with a plan to consolidate fourth but with an eye on third.”

Perez vs Hulkenberg

Was 2016 the year that Perez’s reputation finally shook off the disappointment of his brief stint with McLaren in 2013? It certainly looked that way as the Mexican driver scored over 100 points for the first time in his F1 career (he is also the first Force India driver to achieve that feat) and he drove brilliantly to take two podiums in Monaco and Baku. Perez put his success down to “not trying to overachieve all the time” and bigger teams will certainly be putting him back in the frame for their race seats in the future.

Nico Hulkenberg

This year was another typical F1 performance from Hulkenberg – rapid in some places, anonymous in others, solid points, flashes of brilliance, and still no podium finish. His performance in the wet-to-dry Q3 in Austria was first class and he deserved a better result from that race. The German driver heads to Renault for 2017 and he’ll be hoping a works drive can finally bring him some F1 silverware.

What did you make of Force India in 2016? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JA on F1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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