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Mallya believes Force India close to scoring points

Last updated on: April 02, 2009 11:11 IST

The double finish in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Sunday ticked all the boxes barring aerodynamics and Force India is just a few refinements away from its maiden Formula One points, owner of the Silverstone-based outfit Vijay Mallya said.

Mallya said reliability was his main concern coming into the 2009 session but the Australian Grand Prix dispelled all fears and aerodynamic development is all the VJM02 needed to break the duck.

"Now that the reliability question is out of the way, we're going to focus entirely on aerodynamic development and set-up to make the cars more competitive. Both drivers say that the car is more than a significant improvement over last year, and that the mechanical platform is good and the car has a lot of promise.

"Now it's just a question of the refinements that make the ultimate difference," said Mallya, who is also the team principal.

The Australian Grand Prix saw Brawn GP bagging a one-two finish in its debut race and like Force India, the newest kid on the F1 block was also running on a Mercedes engine.

For Force India, Adrian Sutil finished ninth and Giancarlo Fisichella 11th at Melbourne's Albert Park.

"I'm very encouraged with what we have achieved. We are significantly better than last year, we have proven our reliability now. It's a question of getting the aerodynamic side right, and we just haven't had the time," Mallya said.

"Later on this year I would like to see a great improvement in the performance of our cars. Whether it's going to be anywhere near the Brawn GP car or not is something only time will tell. But we certainly have the ability to be in the points," he added.

Asked for his view on this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, Mallya said, "In terms of aerodynamic upgrades Kuala Lumpur is just too close, there's not very much we can do this week. But by the time we get to Shanghai, certainly we will have made some improvements, and definitely when we get to Barcelona, there will be quite a significant upgrade."

He also took the occasion to welcome fellow airline boss Richard Branson, whose company Virgin sponsors Brawn GP, into Formula One.

"When I saw Richard I congratulated him. We were in Cape Town together over the New Year, so it's nice to see him here, and good to see a new sponsor coming into F1, particularly when everybody's focusing on the economic doom and gloom," Mallya added.

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