Last year, there was no doubt that Force India had a fantastic low-downforce package, as shown by their shock performances in Belgium and Italy. While the team only amassed 13 points across these 2 races, and therefore the season, it was well-known that the team would have to develop a medium-downforce specification if they were to make the next jump. So far, the VJM03 has done exactly that, and has made excellent progress to begin challenging the top teams.
Paul di Resta could be the key to allowing Force India compete with Renault and Mercedes
At the start of the season, it was Vitantonio Liuzzi who was getting the points, with 2 consecutive top 10 finishes in Bahrain and Australia. After this, Adrian Sutil became the driving force of the team, with a 5th place in Malaysia, and has since got 5 points-scoring finishes in a row, leaving him with an impressive 31 points.
Liuzzi, meanwhile, has only 12 points, after 3 9th places and a 7th position finish. His drive was in doubt before the Canadian Grand Prix, but a very good 6th place in qualifying seemed to quell these fears. But, a first lap collision with Felipe Massa appeared to ruin his chances of a points finish, but he recovered to get 9th place, still ahead of his team-mate. In Valencia, when Sutil drove from 13th on the grid to 6th, Liuzzi had no pace, and fell from 14th to 16th.
It seems odd that Vitantonio continues to drive at Force India, when there is a fantastic talent sitting on the sidelines, called Paul di Resta. This man, in 2006, beat Sebastian Vettel in the Formula 3 championship, so I am at a loss to explain why he is not racing in Formula 1. He has been allowed to occasionally race in FP1 sessions (3 times this year so far), and once beat Liuzzi when he took over Sutil’s car. Certainly he should be allowed a proper opportunity in F1, even at the expense of Liuzzi.
Aside from the drivers themselves, the car must also be improved if the team are to challenge the top 5 in the championship. While their Mercedes unit is well up to the task, and their new exhaust blown diffuser is on the way, a high-end aerodynamic package must be available to the team if they are to be competitive at every race.
This is not to imply that Force India need dire improvements, just that if they are to make more progress, changes must be made, most notably replacing Liuzzi with Di Resta.