Formula 1 - Force India boosted by China result

The Force India Formula 1 team believes it can take heart from its performance in the Chinese Grand Prix because the Shanghai circuit is the worst suited to its car.

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Formula 1 - Force India boosted by China result
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Force India Formula One driver Sergio Perez of Mexico drives during the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit

Force India finished sixth and ninth with Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez at the Shanghai circuit on Sunday, a result which appeared to be a step backwards after finishing on the podium in Bahrain in the previous race.

Deputy team principal Bob Fernley said the demands of the Chinese track tended to expose the weaknesses of Force India's cars, so he was delighted Vijay Mallya's team again managed to finish inside the top six.

"This is probably as encouraging a result as Bahrain was an elation for us, because this is not one of our top-performing circuits - it has been one of our Achilles' heel ones," Fernley told AUTOSPORT.

"We've struggled here throughout the years, so to deliver the level of performance we've done, and we've been fundamentally finishing in the top six in all four races, at four completely different circuits, is encouraging."

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Bahrain podium finisher Perez had to battle through to ninth after a brake problem hindered his qualifying session, while Hulkenberg complained of chronic understeer in his car in the race.

Fernley said the drivers had done well to cope with such a difficult circuit for the team.

"It's a very front-limited circuit and it just doesn't quite fit in to the way we operate the car," Fernley added.

"This circuit is very specific in being a challenge to us, whereas Bahrain is exactly the opposite.

"So you're talking two ends of the spectrum: one suits the car really well and other doesn't fit for us. And everything else fits between them.

"We'll still have a couple that are more Bahrain-like, and some that are more China-like, but overall everything else fits between those.

"This means that at our best circuits we are podium potential and at our worst circuits we're looking at being top six, and that is the consistency we need to put on a strong challenge from a constructors' point of view."

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