The force is about to awaken from 'summer hibernation' and the F1 Circus will restart crisscrossing the world, leading to the end of the season.
Almost all teams have now stopped introducing updates, in order to focus on the major changes 2017 is going to bring to the table.
That is the also case of Sahara Force India, currently fifth in the constructors and having in its sights Williams, placed just 15 points ahead. The hunt is open and the chase is now on the British squad - which does not appear to be a farfetched nor a gobsmacking target - but watching your own back is always needed.
McLaren-Honda stands behind, but might indeed threaten Force India's quest by spending all remaining tokens and keeping up the aero development.
However, the Indian outfit will be able to count on horsepower, top speed and above all reliability.
In fact, the drivers will be required to serve their engine penalties once reached the maximum amount of PU elements allowed; but both Hulkenberg and Perez stand in the most favourable position on the grid. Three engines per capita have been used thus far, having replaced the CE and the ES just twice each.
Such factor will become convenient looking onto demanding races in terms of engine delivery, like Spa and Monza, which could play as allies for the VJM09 against its runners up. Both tracks are consecrated to speed and are characterised by high fuel consumption and long full throttle usage.
The night race under the floodlights in Singapore, on the contrary, given its thoroughly technical and tricky features, rewards strong chassis with high downforce levels.
But come Sepang, Force India will be provided with another chance to catch up and overtake on those long straights. Moreover, since the north-east monsoon is influencing the Malaysian weather from October to March, temperatures are likely to drop and downpours are always on the horizon.
Back to old-school in the utterly challenging Suzuka, where the team will need to focus on striking a compromise between low drag and high downforce. More fun is expected in the flowing and sinuous Austin, supposed to be action-packed since Safety car windows are often open there.
In Mexico top speed will be crucial but more downforce than in Monza is necessary. This leg stands for a big opportunity for capitalising on weaker powertrains, as much as counterclockwise Interlagos appears to be an interesting chance especially due to unsettled weather. The VJM09 forcefully performed at the Austrian qualifying on the wet, therefore in such conditions it could emerge on a high spot.
Last chance to assault and make a statement in Abu Dhabi, either to corroborate any advantage or scratch and claw towards imprinting a good result.
Although podium finishes throughout the second half of 2016 might be tough to attain, smart conservative strategies will help in bouncing back and stepping closer to the coveted fourth place in the constructors' championship.
by Beatrice Zamuner