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Force India targeting fifth

Wednesday 01-January-2014 09:49

After a strong start to the 2013 campaign, Bob Fernley reckons Force India can work their way into the top five this year.

The team made a flying start to last year's Championship and were ahead of McLaren in the Constructors' standings before the decision to change the Pirelli tyres had a negative impact on Force India's form.

Struggling to get the most out of the car in the second half of the season, the team eventually finished a distant sixth in the Championship.

However, this season Fernley believes fifth could be within the Mercedes-powered team's grasp.

"It has to be higher next year," the deputy team principal told Autosport.

"If we have made the right decision on the powertrain, and we won't know that until we start running, we have got to be looking at podiums and at least fifth place next year. That will be the target.

"Obviously, we were the first [customer] team to sign our engine deal, which has been in place in March and we were probably one of the first teams to switch over to the 2014 design, so we are very optimistic."

Fernley added that he expected engines and not aerodynamics to play the biggest role in the 2014 title chase.

"The biggest differentiator will be the power unit, so what you need is a chassis that is going to be of good quality, but I don't think it is going to be as critical on the aero as in recent years.

"That will change as time goes on, but certainly in the first half of next year and possibly all of next year, it's going to be all about the power units.

"There are so many variables with reliability, with ERS [energy recovery systems], with fuel-flow systems.

"Somebody is going to get it right, someone is going to get it wrong and what you don't know is which camp you are in.

"If we are in the camp that has got it right, then we are on the right track."

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