Force India and Williams will go “toe-to-toe” for fourth in the constructors’ championship for the test of the season, according to Bob Fernley.
Williams has finished third in the constructors’ championship for the past two seasons but has been unable to match the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull this season as it slips back in the pecking order. Force India, on the other hand, finished fifth last season and has improved again this year, closing the gap to Williams to 15 points over the summer break.
Force India deputy team principal Fernley says both teams will have no further upgrades for the rest of the year and are so closely matched he expects a tight battle until the final race.
“Both Force India and Williams have now provided the toys that we can play with with the car,” Fernley told F1i. “We’re going to have to rearrange those toys through the rest of the year because there’s nothing else coming and it will be toe-to-toe. I think it’s going to be that battle of on the pit wall and on the track all the way through to the end of the season.”
While Fernley believes Force India has had the upper hand in a number of races, he expects Williams to be strong in Belgium next weekend.
“Yeah we’d like them to think so!” Fernley replied when asked if Force India has had the edge recently. “I would probably be a little bit more circumspect for Spa because Spa is usually an excellent track for Williams.
“Although we’ve done reasonably well in the past, that was a long time ago when the car was very low-drag specific. When we do Spa it is going to be a slightly tougher program and it may be one where we’re looking for damage limitation.”
And Fernley says the main motivation in the fight is not financial, despite more prize money being available to the team finishing highest.
“I think it’s the same thing that Williams are looking at, it’s pride. It’s a hell of an achievement to be best of the rest and that’s what we want to get. It’s been our goal to achieve that in this part of our plan for the team and it’s good to see it in sight. Obviously Williams, who have been there for a while, are going to do everything they can to defend it.”
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