Ryan Wood  |    |   0  |  20 March 2017

Force India 'confident' of scoring points at first Formula 1 race in Melbourne

Force India's Vijay Mallya says his team must believe they can "pick up where they left off" at the opening race of the 2017 season in Melbourne this weekend, referencing their strong finish to last year which saw the team break clear of Williams in fifth and secure their highest ever championsip position.

With the season-opener just days away, Mallya is refusing to make any wild predictions as to where his team stands, but with a fairly smooth going eight days of testing and good pace to boot, he is confident the team will score points this weekend and says they must believe they can carry through their great form from 2016.

"Our expectations this weekend, it’s still not easy to make predictions – even after eight days of testing in Barcelona," he said. "Qualifying on Saturday will give us our first indication of the true pecking order.

"Testing taught us lots of things and we’ve identified where we can improve, which is exactly why we go testing. We’ve addressed most of those things in time for Melbourne and we’re in good shape.

"The VJM10 is largely reliable and clocked up 785 laps in testing, and we took encouragement from our long run pace.

"We’ve got to approach the early races believing we can pick up where we left off last year. We arrive in Melbourne feeling optimistic and confident that scoring points is a realistic objective."

Meanwhile Mallya says the team's new livery, which is now all-pink thanks to new sponsor BWT, has been well received both inside and outside the paddock.

"We will race in our new colours for the first time in Melbourne. BWT have given us a very exciting livery and they have generated a huge buzz among the media and fans. The VJM10 looks stunning and it’s great to see such a positive reaction on social media."

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