Force India will expect to improve after linking up with McLaren technologies
BBC PUNDIT EDDIE JORDAN ON FORCE INDIA
"This season should be another transition year for Vijay Mallay's Force India team.
"They will now use a Mercedes engine and are also sharing other technical elements with McLaren.
"Towards the second half of the season, I think Force India will emerge as a more regular and consistent runner, tackling the teams in sixth and seventh place in the standings.
"Giancarlo Fisichella is a proven race-winner and Adrian Sutil looks staggeringly good in the wet so the team has a decent driver line-up."
MEET THE BOSS - VIJAY MALLYA
What are Force India's targets for 2009?
Clearly we have a lot to achieve in 2009. We improved significantly throughout the 2008 season, but it wasn't quite enough, so we need to address this.
We are under no illusions that the first four races will be hard going but when we get back to Europe I expect us to be fully competitive.
From there, I would like to see a strong performance, rising to points mid-season and a definite improvement in qualifying. Regular points finishes should be the aim.
Will the rule changes for 2009 alter the races and if so what are you most excited about?
The 2009 changes of regulation represent a huge opportunity for the team on all fronts.
By taking a very mature set of regulations and paring it back, everyone has to start again. Some people may get it right, others may be playing catch up, but at least for Force India, as a smaller team, we won't be separated by such a huge gulf.
On a personal note I am looking forward to seeing the new shape of the cars on track, more overtaking and of course Kers, which is a completely new innovation for F1.
What would represent a step backwards for Force India from 2008?
Standing still is the equivalent of going backwards here. To not move forward in this game is to take a step backwards.
Can you explain your team's philosophy in three words?
Dynamic, professional, Indian.
Why do Force India race?
This team is a thoroughbred, professional race team. From its days as Jordan Grand Prix to the Spyker Formula One Team I bought, the drive is to win.
Now we carry the hopes of an entire nation with us - we have to race and succeed, it is a point of national pride.
What is special about Force India?
FORCE INDIA FACTS AND STATS
Nationality: Indian and British
Headquarters Silverstone (UK)
Debut season 2008
Test driver: Vitantonio Liuzzi
Team principal: Vijay Mallya
Technical director: James Key
Engine: Mercedes-Benz V8
Highest Grand Prix finish: 10th
2008 position: 10th
Constructors' titles: 0
I hope that we are a refreshing change. We are always hard-working and endeavour to do our best, but we try to have fun at the same time. F1 is glamorous, it's exciting, it's fun - why shouldn't we show this?
What is the team's status in Formula One?
I don't think I can comment on my own status. I would like to think, however, that people see the huge opportunities that this team has and presents, both on a commercial and on a sporting level.
What is the team's image?
Young, upcoming and dynamic challengers!
Why should people support Force India?
There are many different reasons, regardless of your nationality.
We are underdogs at the moment, with perhaps the smallest resources but, as we showed in Monaco last year, we have the courage, tenacity and spirit to surprise and succeed.
And when that happens, as we all hope it will this year, it shakes things up, it's unexpected - and surprise is what makes the racing exciting.
If your team were an animal what would it be?
An Indian tiger!
What does a team boss do?
I think it's more like what don't we do! The buck stops with us, so it is ultimately our responsibility to make sure that individual departments are functioning effectively and the whole team works in unison.
That said, however, I firmly believe in giving individuals the tools and the responsibility for their own work. I make sure the overall picture is clear.
What is the most difficult thing about being a team boss?
There are many difficulties in running an F1 team. It's a finely-balanced machine and getting just that right balance can be hard.
We learnt a lot of lessons in our debut season and I hope we can build on this understanding this year.
Are you worried about the future of F1?
Clearly one has to be concerned about what is happening in the world today.
Honda's withdrawal was not a shock to me as I could well imagine that on one hand, with global sales and profits under pressure, the first thing that any independent board member would say is: "What are you doing with a Formula One team?"
I don't think that we will reach such a drastic or severe situation that F1 will cease to exist - both the governing body, the FIA, and teams' association Fota are already taking action to make it more attractive for existing teams and for new teams to enter in future.
There are teams out there who want F1 to continue and be as successful as it has been before, but what we need to do is cut the coat to suit the cloth, and that is why I welcome (FIA president) Max Mosley's initiatives to make sure the costs of running a team in F1 and competing in the world championship are brought down considerably.
Who do you expect to spring a surprise this season?
Who do you tip for the titles?
I believe McLaren will be very strong, and also Ferrari, but the field this year is still so wide open with the new regulations. We have to wait until Australia -and I can't wait.