Vijay Mallya wants F1 podium finish in Canada

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 June, 2013, 5:47am

Force India want a top-three finish at this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix after their strong start to the Formula One season, according to team principal Vijay Mallya.

"I think we are now knocking on the door of our first podium finish since 2009, and it's time to do that all-important step," the Indian beer and liquor baron said in a preview for Sunday's race, the team's 100th grand prix since they became Force India in 2008.

Our car has shown the race pace to finish among the leaders

"Montreal would be a great place to do so. It is a track that favours overtaking and our car has shown the race pace to finish among the leaders, so everything is possible."

Force India are an impressive fifth in the championship after six races, ahead of former champions McLaren, and came close to a podium finish in Bahrain in April when Paul Di Resta finished fourth after being passed by Lotus' Romain Grosjean five laps from the end.

The Silverstone-based team - previously Spyker, Midland and Jordan - had their only podium as Force India in the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix when Italian Giancarlo Fisichella started on pole position and finished second.

Germany's Adrian Sutil qualified second in Italy that same year, but finished fourth, while compatriot Nico Hulkenberg was fourth in Belgium last year. Di Resta also came fourth in Singapore last year.

"I am proud of everyone in the team because we have achieved good results - and claimed 44 points - despite some very unfortunate occurrences," Mallya said of the season so far.

"With a bit more luck, we would be even further ahead of McLaren, but the focus is on the future.

"We know our rivals will be more competitive in the next few rounds, but we have shown we can mix with the big teams and we intend to do so."

Meanwhile, Ferrari's Felipe Massa would have a new chassis for this weekend's race after crashing heavily twice at the race in Monaco, the Italian team said.

Massa smashed into a barrier in final practice and then during the race, with the first accident attributed to driver error and the second to failed suspension.