Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Engine Blood Ranks The 2018 Contenders: 7. Name pending

HISTORY: Rising from the ashes of plucky underdogs Jordan, via Spyker and Midland, Force India were absolute rubbish for the first year of their existence, but have since built up into a midfield dynamo that never really threatens the upper echelons, but have more than enough to keep getting by.

Bizarrely, Force India have decided in recent years to tone down the whole "India" side of things...  Yes, us neither...  So a name change is expected imminently, and perhaps even before the start of the season.  They've cited problems attracting sponsors as the main driver of said activity.

Last year, they changed their livery to bright pink at the last minute and finished high up the order, yet somehow flew under the radar without a single podium finish to their name, and were more famed for several on-track clashes between their very fighty drivers - not what any team wants to see.  Still, at least they got rid of one or both of them during the off season, eh?

...Ah.  Oh dear.


From Getty Images, accessed via BBC Sport.
Main sponsors BWT are behind the shift from Force India's traditional orange, green and white, and sometimes black, to pink and white.  So WHAT BAR are they?*

Well Jay, Force India (or whatever they decide to call themselves) are:

- Pink 'N' Whites wafers;
- Barr's American Cream Soda;
- Haribo Charmallows;
- Walkers Prawn Cocktail crisps;
- And a bonus WHAT BEER: Brewdog's ill-conceived Pink IPA!



11. Sergio PEREZ (MEX)
31. Esteban OCON (FRA)

Perez is the Icarus of Formula One; he flew too high too fast, and has plummeted since.  Nailed on for a Ferrari drive down the road after a great couple of seasons for Sauber, he jumped into McLaren instead as a replacement for Hamilton in a season where McLaren had a dip in form.

And what have we repeatedly learned about what McLaren do when that happens?  Replaced by Magnusson (who'd suffer the same fate), he used Mercedes connections to get in at Force India, where he rebuilt his reputation nicely - until last year.

For that was the year Esteban Ocon appeared and decided to take the old advice about first having to beat your teammate very literally, leading to a series of embarrassing on-track incidents between the two.  Ocon looks to be the real deal, or something very close to it, and with Perez in danger of looking washed up at a shockingly young age  (another sad trope we've been quoting this year), sparks will no doubt continue to fly.

LAST YEAR: 4th in Constructors' Championship, 187 points.

11. Sergio PEREZ (MEX) - 7th, 100 points, best finish: 4th.
31. Esteban OCON (FRA) - 8th, 87 points, best finish: 5th.

Despite said sparks, the team finished an impressive fourth by over 100 points from Williams last year, albeit with the dearth of podiums noted above.  It could all have been so much more impressive though, as both drivers could easily have challenged for the win in Azerbaijan had they not - you guessed it - collided and ruined each others' race.

PROSPECTS: Testing looks a bit spotty and they've got two drivers who grind each others' gears...  This could be anywhere from a funny disaster, to a sad disaster, to a disappointing mid-table finish.  We'll stick our necks out though and say that with Haas, McLaren and possibly Toro Rosso in the ascendancy, they won't hit the giddy highs of last year.

(* = thanks in advance to OSW Review for not suing us over this affectionate homage)

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