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Force India predict four-team battle for fourth in 2018

Written by  Feb 05, 2018

Force India COO Otmar Szafnauer believes Formula 1 can look forward to a four-team battle to finish 'best of the rest' in fourth in the constructors' championship in 2018.

Last year, the Silverstone based outfit pushed on from their best ever result in 2016 and repeated it in more dominant fashion, finishing over 100 points clear of Williams with 16 double points results in 20 races.

However, with key personnel now at Grove and two multi-championship winning teams looking to return to the top, Szafnauer admits a third straight year atop the midfield is going to be very difficult.

“With McLaren and their new engine partner in Renault making strides and Renault themselves pouring even more resources in and working hard to catch up, as well as Williams with Paddy Lowe and their new head of aero [Dirk de Beer], it will be difficult for us to beat all three of those teams," he told Racer.

Rather than thinking defensively, however, the American believes Force India's best hope is to aim even higher and look to do what they didn't manage in 2017.

“For us, it would be great if we could develop the car to such a point where we’ve got good potential for a few podiums,” Szafnauer claimed.

"If we achieve that and come closer to third but maintain fourth, I think that would be an objective that would be a big success for Force India."

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McLaren is considered the favourite by many to potentially make the big three into a top four thanks to Renault power and a chassis which they believe is a match for Red Bull.

Talking to Autosport about how they can achieve the latter, technical director Tim Goss, explained: “So much of producing a great F1 car these days is giving the driver a car that they can exploit, there is no point in giving them a car with very peaky performance.

“What we are trying to do is give the driver something that operates very well over a broad operating envelope.”

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