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Force India eye 5th spot

Sahara Force India are confident of maintaining the impressive form they showed in the second half of 2012 when the new Formula One season kicks off in March.

Force India ended seventh in the 2012 constructors’ championship but were the fifth best team in the second half of the season. Outgoing driver Nico Hulkenberg capped off the fine run by coming fifth in Brazil.

‘We have to be very encouraged by the second half of the season,’ Force India deputy team principal Robert Fernley was quoted as saying by Autosport.

‘The regulations are stable going into 2013. So apart from the development work you’re going to do over the winter, fundamentally where you’ve finished now is where you start in March.’

‘Can we learn something? We’ve had two seasons where we’ve been slow out of the box. It’s caught us out. Hopefully in 2013 that won’t be the case,’ he said.

The Silverstone-based outfit, the first one to announce their 2013 car launch date, registered two fourth place finishes this year, both after the summer break.

‘If you look at the stats, since the summer break, Force India’s the fifth best performing team and Vijay (Mallya) will expect us to start there, it’s as simple as that,’ Fernley said.

‘Mercedes obviously have a lot of work to do. They have Lewis (Hamilton) going there, so that’s going to be a renewed enthusiasm for what they’re doing.

‘From our point of view we’ve been strong at the end of this season and we want to carry that through to next year,’ he added.

Force India are yet to announce their drivers’ line-up though Paul di Resta is expected to retain his seat.

Force India is linked to go with Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi who currently races for Sauber-Ferrari.


SEBASTIAN VETTEL IS POTENTIAL FERRARI DRIVER, SAYS TEAM PRESIDENT

Triple Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel would be Ferrari’s first choice should they ever need to replace Fernando Alonso, president Luca di Montezemolo has said. The Red Bull driver has been repeatedly linked to Ferrari this season, with talk of a pre-contract for 2014, although the 25-year-old German and his team have tried to put the speculation to rest. Speaking at Ferrari’s Maranello factory, Montezemolo left no doubt about the Italian team’s admiration for Vettel. ‘If for whatever reason Fernando Alonso were to leave one day, maybe because he wants to retire in Hawaii with his girlfriend, then I want Vettel,’ he said.  ‘Sebastian is a potential Ferrari driver for the future,’ added he.
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