One step forward, one step back for Force India

2012 F1 season review

Posted on

| Written by

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Interlagos, 2012

Force India increased their points haul in 2012 but in such a competitive season it wasn’t enough to keep them from losing a place in the championship.

The team ended the year of steady progress with one of its most competitive showing to date. Nico Hulkenberg led the Brazilian Grand Prix for 30 laps before a clash with Lewis Hamilton left him fifth.

It wasn’t the only time Force India led a race in 2012 – Paul di Resta cycled to the front during the pit stop sequence in Bahrain. This was one of his best performances of the year and it came on a difficult weekend for the team as they missed a practice session after being caught up in a petrol bomb attack in the strife-hit country.

Force India team stats 2012

Best race result (number)4 (2)
Best grid position (number) 4 (1)
Non-finishes (mechanical/other) 3 (2/1)
Laps completed (% of total) 2,211 (92.74%)
Laps led (% of total) 30 (2.52%)
Championship position (2011)7 (6)
Championship points (2011)109 (69)
Pit stop performance ranking6

A superb performance from Di Resta gave the team a morale-boosting sixth place, impressively holding off Fernando Alonso in the closing stages.

Di Resta held the upper hand early in the season as Hulkenberg dusted off the cobwebs having spent 2011 as a test driver. But the pendulum swung over the course of the season and Brazil was the culmination of several great drives by Hulkenberg.

Team owner Vijay Mallya was keen to retain both drivers, but Hulkenberg has been lured to Sauber for 2013. Nonetheless Mallya heaped praise on his outgoing driver, even before his Brazilian Grand Prix heroics: “Nico has been one of the stars this season. He?s delivered exactly what we expected of him and brought a lot to this team. He has a big future in Formula One and we wish him well.”

In a season when the margins between success and failure in the middle of the pack were even narrower than usual, Force India began the year at the tail end of the midfield. They admitted the VJM05 was a significant departure from the previous design but made progress with it.

While the form of teams like Sauber varied considerably from track to track, Force India were on a steady upward trajectory throughout the season. The teams’ mid-season progress began after a package of upgrades introduced at the Spanish Grand Prix. It took them time to exploit the development to its full potential but once they did the orange and green cars made more regular forays into the points.

Paul di Resta, Force India, Bahrain, 2012From being in the lower reaches of Q2 at the start of the season they appeared in Q3 more frequently in the second half of the year. Unfortunately for Di Resta, a superb fourth on the grid in Italy was lost due to a gearbox change penalty.

The team’s late-season form was all the more impressive given that they’d already switched focus to their 2013 chassis. “We?ve been on the new car for several months now,” said technical director Andrew Green. “There?s been no development on this car since the [August] shutdown, effectively.” That will give the team cause for optimism heading into next season.

But there are concerns, and not least who will be found to replace the driver who claimed the lion’s share of their points this year.

During the season doubts were raised over the teams’ long-term future as reports emerged of problems elsewhere in Mallya’s business empire. He dismissed the questions and sought to deflect attention from it by pointing out his planned investment in the team for next year.

“We have every reason to feel proud,” concluded Mallya. “We?ve scored more points than in any previous season and every year we?ve demonstrated that we?ve gone up the ladder.” But that progress is not going to be easy to sustain.

Force India drivers’ 2012 race results

Paul di Resta1071261471171112108412121291519
Nico Hulkenberg91512108125129114211476885

Force India drivers’ 2012 laps per position

Paul di Resta13941424763651089618518111693421641536090
Nico Hulkenberg302615256742841051341249862587439412291241102

2012 F1 season review

Browse all 2012 F1 season review articles

Images ?? Sahara Force India F1 Team

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

39 comments on “One step forward, one step back for Force India”

  1. they did not have both cars preforming at the same level, at the start di Resta got most out of the car in the later part he could not get much out of the car… and Hulk did the opposite started poorly ended with a bang. Had they both performed well in most of the races… they could have got more points.

  2. One of the biggest battles between teammate. They had great performances and still they are two young drivers with very good potential.

    1. Di Restaurant isn’t that young.

      1. Well, its not like the Hulk is much older either.

    2. i think di Resta lost some form after perez got confirmed at McLaren & Hamilton got Merc seat… but i think he did enough to retain his seat for another year at SFI.

  3. “We have every reason to feel proud,”

    Of course they have ! Considering they bought Spyker (not the best team around) and got within terms of the top guns relatively quickly, Force India did a massive job over the years. Good for them.

    Though losing Hulkenberg was a bad one…

    1. @fer-no65 Yeah. I’m yet to be convinced by Binachhi to be honest.

  4. @keithcollantine , correct if I am wrong, Nico led in Brazil for 30 laps + Paul led some good number of laps in Bahrain, then are Laps led stats alright?

  5. @keithcollantine The article says that dvpmt on 2012 car stopped to focus on 2013 car. Is it true? I thought it was stopped due to lack of funds.

    1. Why is it that everyone keeps saying FI is going to shut down due to lack of funds. At the same time, everyone seems to consider Sauber as the little team that can. In my opinion FI is in much better financial condition that Sauber. While Sauber has to rely on pay-drivers, FI has been able to tug along without rookie pay drivers. Sure, PDR came with some Mercedes backing. But what did the Hulk have? He was kicked out of Williams due to lack of funds.
      In such a situation, it becomes necessary to think why FI has got a bad reputation of being paupers.
      Answer: Not many people like Mallya and his lifestyle. He is rich, has an F1 team to his name and acts like he own the world. Yes, You and I are all jealous of him. While it is not cool, it is his money and he has lots of it. Add Sahara to the list and FI is financially solid. More so than Sauber or Williams, at the very least.

      1. thats because most people fail to think about his other business, they forget that he is a liquor baron. which is his main source of funds.

        1. New member here, so hope you don’t discount anything I have to say for those reasons.

          It is true Mallya’s Airlines ship is sinking, actually it has more/less sunk already.

          But let us not forget he has many other ships to jump on, and has life jackets by the dozens.

          What I am saying is debt and financial crisis is only one facade of his vast empire.

          Let us not forget his recent stake sale to British drinks titan Diaego just fetched him $2B.

          And he has other avenues of income. Also I don’t think these cases mean much, Mallya knows how to escape the clutches of the law, and he won’t be strong armed by GMR, the infrastructure company that sued him for not paying Kingfisher’s landing fees. After all, it was Mallya that gave birth to the very company that sued him — back in the 80s, GMR — the airport operator, sold his beverage company to Mallya and got into the infrastructure/airport business, and Mallya later got into Airlines.

          The way money flows — how funny!

        2. @keithcollantine As i I had said at the time the article appeared on F1F, Mallya used his influence to get out of the warrant. Btw Mallya’s defence is that Airline is separate from his other biz. Too bad the employees got caught up in this and ended up having a dark Diwali without pay. :(

        3. Even i dnt like him..but respect that man much..another person would have walked out of the aviation industry at the current state.. but he has sold his stake to diago and still working hard to keep the company afloat.. ask mr. Richard branson…and check bounce issue is closed.. he has paid the debts..and force india stays..

        4. Yea, he had an arrest warrant on his head. But that was not regarding FI. As far as my limited knowledge goes, kingfisher is a completely different entity and even if it shuts shop tonight, his other personal assets and business that are not given as collateral cannot be used to pay of its debt. So, I doubt there will be any issues to FI because of kingfisher.
          If you hadn’t noticed during the last races, FI had removed the kingfisher logo from their car and replaced it with Sahara.
          FI went from being a down in the rut team spyker to a proper mid-field team. But I haven’t heard one good thing Mallya has done for FI from the media.
          I am a regular reader of Joe Saward’s blog. He never wastes a chance to bash Mallya. That’s what irks me. Surely Sauber/ Williams are in more financial crisis than FI. Yet we always hear about Mallya and FI ready to go down in flames.
          Not cool.!

          1. LOL I noticed the same thing about the rear wing. I wonder whether this means Sahara has to pump in more money.

            Also I don’t see why Mallya has to do anything. He just provides direction and money.

            We don’t see Montezemolo or Mateschitz at the factory often do we?

      2. @rojov123 @raveendhana @ideepak SFI is certainly a team thats not close to failing. Infact all through the past few months I have been Mallya’s supporter on F1F and pointing out to the fact that only KFA was in crisis.

        The point I am making here is that probably SFI used up their entire tech dvpmt budget in the first half of 2012. Thats why I asked @keithcollantine whether he recvd any info frm the team confirming their shift in focus to 2013 car?

        1. The bigger question I have, and I guess others see is what is the point of Force India?

          If it were truly a vanity project for Mallya, then he would have name it Mallya or something more personal .

          F1 doesn’t throw more money at you than what you spend — so economic sense can be canceled. If we were to conclude it was to bring his brands publicity, what is point of displaying Kingfisher logos on an F1 car in Brazil, or any other country where his products don’t sell for that matter?

          Mallya is a deeply passionate about the sport, yes, he was the first in South East Asia to personally race F1 cars. But what is the long term strategy here?

          1. +1

            perfect question….why cant he name it force or something …why name it after the country ..Maybe a marketing strategy ( or to enthuse a false sense of pride among Indians ……..remember, no part of the working of this team has anything Indian about it ) … It will be interesting to follow the next phase of this team and see what happens in a few years .

  6. @keithcollantine Second graph title needs to be fixed.

    1. @giggsy11 Done, thanks!

  7. Is it possible to have two different colors for the driver’s comparison? Thanks.

  8. Has anyone heard the rumors that Sutil is coming back to FI for 2013?

    1. Not from any sources I’d give a second glance to.

    2. Also heard it. They say FI will announce their line-up for 2013 this week.

      1. Ok is this a joke? LOL. You’re not THE Adrian Sutil by any chance are you?

        1. yes it is adrian sutil, FI thinks he is the best driver of the options they have now. they also fell that it was not the right time for hulk to leave the team.

        2. @deepak Dont worry, I am just a Sutil fan. I hope he will return next season. He should be on the grid based on his driving skills.

          1. @sutil2013 He’s frightfully dull though, I think those who replaced him did a good enough job to not warrant bringing him back.

  9. @ideepak His main motivation is to showcase his brands and to showcase India. He is a patriotic guy. Remember this guy has even purchased historical Indian antiques to prevent em frm falling in foreign hands, from Tipu’s sword in 2004 to Mahatma Gandhi’s bowl.

    When it comes to his brands. It is because of SFI that Kingfisher is now known all over. You first showcase your brand, then sell it. Like Red Bull. Their drinks started selling in small Indian cities only after the brand gained exposure whn they won WC in 2010.

  10. Ok. Here’s a wild guess on why Force “India” was named Force India.

    Bernie offered him special concessions for putting it “India” in it?

    I suspect the F1/CVC/FIA gods convinced Mallya to hit at the sentiments of Indians. Who wants to support a rich guy’s car race event ? But name it Force India, and it becomes personal for a country of 1 billion, who will definitely root for “their” nation’s cars to win.

    This obviously translates to more money for CVC, and Bernie. For adding India on the name, painting an Indian flag on the cars, you’ve accessed a nation of 1.1B .

    Ecclestone and Mallya are trying to lure a customer base 1/7 of the world population.

    Even if 1/10 of that is captured (100m), it’d be remarkable, and means massive money.

    1. Force India is no more an Indian team than Caterham is Malaysian. It’s like saying Manchester United is American and Chelsea Russian.

      1. Of course, in fact, I’ve always seen Force India as British to the core.

        But you know how it is, most people are ignorant, all it takes is an Indian flag painted on 2 F1 cars and a controversial flamboyant ex-billionaire owner, and the Indian media will be dying and jumping to give him free publicity.

      2. @danbrown180 It’s hard for a westerner like u to understand Indian minds. Name anything after India and the whole nation will fall behind it.

        For instance US Astronaut Sunita Williams. He only Indian connection is that she is born to Indian parents. She doesnt knw a thing abt India, dsnt speak Indian languages, had never cared for our country. But, she has a huge fan following in our nation and has rcvd national award too.

        Had Neel Jani entered F1, reaction in India would be similar. If F1 becomes popular in India, 80pc of Indian fans would support em.

    2. @ideepak Seems a little far fetched to me to be honest. I doubt FOM or the FIA had anything to do with it at all.

  11. @ideepak I dont think Bernie would do that. If he really was so desperate for India’s market share, he himself would hv sponsored Karthikeyan or Chandhok to help em get into a good team. Btw, ur username may attract copyright suit by Apple :p

    1. Yeah, like I said, wild guess lol..

      I guess I better hide if Apple decides to release an iDeepak, I can’t afford billion $ lawsuits!

  12. According to Force India, they have had atleast one car in points in 80pc of the race. A stat bettered by only top 4 teams.

Comments are closed.