Highly regarded as the best pound-for-pound team in Formula One, the team based at Silverstone took wins in their former Jordan guise. Now regularly in contention for podiums, will a change of team name bring the pink panthers more success in 2018?
|First F1 Appearance||2008 Australian Grand Prix|
|Team Principal||Vijay Mallya|
Though the Force India name has only been in the sport for the past decade, the team – and much of its DNA – can be traced back to 1991, when Eddie Jordan entered Formula One with his Jordan team. Michael Schumacher was given his F1 début with this team at Spa in the same year. The Jordan team finished fifth in the Constructors’ Championship in their maiden season – and had similar success again with a reliable Hart engine in 1994 and 1995. The yellow team’s first win came at the unforgettable 1998 Belgian Grand Prix, where Damon Hill took his final F1 victory. Their most successful season came the year after, finishing third overall behind Ferrari and McLaren.
With the ever increasing costs in modern day Formula One, success became more difficult, though the team managed one final victory at the rain affected 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix. Eddie Jordan sold the team in 2005. Despite changing ownerships three times over four years – from Jordan, to Midland, to Spkyer, to Force India – the team’s base has never strayed from Silverstone, just a stone’s throw from the iconic British circuit. The interim years between Jordan and Force India brought the team little success – with Marcus Winkelhock leading for a short while in a chaotic 2007 European Grand Prix, his first and only Formula One race, being one of the only major talking points.
Spyker became Force India for the start of the 2008 season, after Vijay Mallya bought the team in October 2007. They found themselves picking up where Spyker left off, as backmarkers, finishing tenth in the championship. Taking advantage of the regulations, and a new engine supply from Mercedes, in 2009 the team were relatively competitive and even took their first pole at Spa, where Giancarlo Fisichella finished on the podium.
They became a solid midfield team for the next seasons, with drivers like Adrian Sutil, Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg all regularly scoring points. Hulkenberg led the race for a short time at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, before colliding with Lewis Hamilton. Another step forward came in 2014 at the dawn of the hybrid era, thanks to the team having the superior Mercedes engine. Sergio Perez, who joined the team from McLaren for 2014, was regularly in contention for podiums in 2014 and 2015, and the team rose to become ‘best of the rest’ in 2016, beating Williams in a season long battle for fourth place.
The best pound-for-pound team delivered once again in 2017, finishing best of the rest behind the top three teams despite a driver line-up change ahead of the season. Though Force India failed to score a podium for the first time since 2013, they were in a battle of their own for fourth place, striding well clear of Williams in the competitive order, amassing their best ever total of 187 points – 104 clear of their closest competitors. Their new recruit, Esteban Ocon, ruffled more feathers than many expected, regularly battling more experienced team-mate Perez. The two were close on track, and it cost the team dear at times. Their coming together in Baku arguably cost them a double podium, while in Belgium things turned nasty as Perez forced Ocon towards the wall on the run to Eau Rouge.
For a more global sponsorship appeal, the team drops the India to become Team Force in 2018. The team may lack the resources and money of other top teams, but deliver year on year as regular podium contenders. They would surely like to return to the podium this season, while maintaining a healthy relationship between their two drivers. With expected steps forward from McLaren and Renault, will the pink panthers be toppled in 2018?
FORCE INDIA’S RECENT F1 HISTORY
|2010||7th (68 points)||0||0||Adrian Sutil, Vitantonio Liuzzi|
|2011||6th (69 points)||0||0||Adrian Sutil, Paul di Resta|
|2012||7th (109 points)||0||0||Nico Hulkenberg, Paul di Resta|
|2013||6th (77 points)||0||0||Adrian Sutil, Paul di Resta|
|2014||6th (155 points)||0||0||Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg|
|2015||5th (136 points)||0||0||Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg|
|2016||4th (173 points)||0||0||Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg|
|2017||4th (187 points)||0||0||Sergio Perez, Esteban Ocon|
|2018||Sergio Perez, Esteban Ocon|