Sahara Force India heads into the summer break placed fifth in the constructors standings, having collected 81 points. Despite a number of see-sawing outcomes, the team has achieved two solid podium finishes in the first half of the term and set the fastest lap on one occasion.
The team has attained satisfying results thus far, already ahead of its result at this point last year, although the German GP did not take place in 2015.
Sergio Perez is currently 8th in the running for the championship, whereas Nico Hulkenberg is two slots behind. However, unlike last season's hamstrung beginning, both drivers are now able to fight for higher spots.
The VJM09, supplied with a Mercedes power unit, has indeed shown its major strengths in tracks favouring horsepower and top speed, proving it can challenge Williams. Moreover, on demanding tracks in terms of engine weariness it has overall displayed good reliability as well as an acceptable driveability.
The season kicked off in Australia, where only Nico was able to yield a point-paying result. Colourless performances followed, only highlighted by him sealing the fastest lap on fresh tyres at the Chinese GP, stripping the accomplishment from Mercedes.
The Catalan leg saw the introduction of a plentiful aero package, granting a 0.5 secs improvement and after that Sahara Force India started gaining momentum in Monaco, where both drivers stood tall from the beginning, as Nico stunned with P5 in qualifying.
The flamboyantly competitive pace kept by Sergio made him come up with a brilliant P3, joining Hamilton and Ricciardo on the podium. Hulkenberg was stuck far from the top zone due to the wrong strategy employed, so he had to make up for it. He managed to overtake Rosberg just metres from the finish line and ended in P6.
Hence, the team had to step down, even from the podium, flying to Gilles's soil. The race in Canada looked tough, but both locked horns fighting in the top 10 and shored up their positions.
Nico and Sergio raced to conquer the unconquered in Azerbaijan, hosting the returning European GP. Tilke's brand new creation endowed with heterogeneous features -including narrow corners and long straights - fit the characteristics of the VJM09, as we can tell from the 1st row earned by Sergio on Saturday. In the land of fire, Sahara Force India made everyone feel the force through a fiery pace leading to P3 for the second time with Sergio.
Major hopes were put into Austria, which turned out to be the real skeleton at the feast for the team.
Hulkenberg, taking advantage of the intermediate conditions, reached P3 in qualifying and gained the 1st row, capitalising on Rosberg's penalty. Nevertheless, throughout the race both drivers have been harshly battered: Sergio suffered a brake blunder during the last lap, whilst Nico's performance was spoiled by a suspension failure after coming across the controversial kerbs.
The squad arrived in Great Britain looking forward to making a sizeable leap after summing 0 points at Spielberg. The weekend started and ended on the right side, with Nico and Sergio respectively finishing 6th and 7th, strongly engaging the new aero updates. After being under the weather in Hungary, bringing home just one point thanks to Nico, it resurged in Germany, closing its first half nabbing a double point-finish.
With no new pieces coming up, Force India has built a remarkable platform to work on, considering also the limited budget and how tight the midfield contention really is. That is why the Indian team definitely has to see the glass half full.
by Beatrice Zamuner