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Saturday, December 4, 2010
Synopsis: It was a year of improvement for Force India, its 68 points the most in its short history, though perhaps a bit less showy than 2009, when Giancarlo Fisichella challenged for a win at Spa and Adrian Sutil finished fourth in Italy. Sutil finished in the top 10 nine times in 2010, including a string of six straight mid season, and Force India was just edged (by a single point) by Williams for sixth in the constructors championship.
Highlight: Relative reliability led to double points finishes in Monaco, Canada and Belgium. Fifth place finishes for Sutil in Malaysia and at Spa, and a sixth for Vitantonio Liuzzi in Korea were also notable.
Lowlight: Tension between Liuzzi and Sutil during the season at times rivaled that at Ferrari or Red Bull. Also, the team lost several senior personnel over the course of the season, most notably technical director James Key, who moved to Sauber.
- Adrian Sutil had a strong season for a midfield driver, racking up 47 of the team’s points for 11th on the drivers table. His consistency and nine points-paying finishes were somewhat overshadowed by a terrible drive in Korea and a reputation for hot-headedness. Sutil may not be the stuff of champions, but could be very effective in a competitive car, he has shown he can deliver when in good equipment.
- Vitantonio Liuzzi impressed upon his Force India debut in 2009, when the team released Fisichella to drive for Ferrari, prompting his retention in 2010. Liuzzi delivered early in the year, but as the season went on Sutil had the better of him. Some of that can be chalked up to bad luck, but with DTM champ Paul di Resta breathing down his neck, Liuzzi may be feeling a bit vulnerable.
A look ahead: Many questions must be answered for 2011. Can Force India recover from the loss of Key, as well as the chief designer and head aerodynamicist? That is a tall order in an increasingly competitive midfield. Williams will be strong, Sauber will likely improve, and Team Lotus will be looking to move up now that it will have Renault engines and Red Bull gearboxes. Neither driver has been confirmed, though it seems a safe bet Sutil will be retained. With its Mercedes package and all the stars aligned, Force India could be best of the rest, still, it is not hard to envision a slide backward next season for Vijay Mallya’s squad. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six
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