Force India will be 'smart' with expansion - Otmar Szafnauer

Force India Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer says the team will be “smart” with its planned expansion, and strive to retain the mentality that has won it plaudits.

Force India has operated on one of Formula 1’s smallest budgets but has scored back-to-back fourth places in the Constructors’ Championship.

The outfit would hold the position once more this year had it not been stripped of its points mid-season due to the complex way in which its Lawrence Stroll-led takeover was completed.

That has lifted some of the financial pressure that Force India had previously suffered, and the team is planning to expand in the coming years, with Sergio Perez suggesting it must target the top three squads.

Szafnauer has cautioned that Force India must be wary not to change its culture in the wake of greater finance, and the likelihood of receiving more resources.

“I’m optimistic that we can now grow the team in the areas that we know we should be growing in order to increase performance, both from a human resources perspective and additional infrastructure perspective,” said Szafnauer.

“We’ve got to do it in an intellectual and measured manner, but we will have the wherewithal to do it – that does make me optimistic.

“We’ve got to be smart in what we do, [just] because we have more resources doesn’t mean we shouldn’t apply the same rigour in our decision-making.

“I’ve seen big teams with almost unlimited resources just have a shotgun approach to development and that doesn’t work, you waste time and you waste effort.

“The efficiency that we have... we must still apply that to even greater resource in order to get the output we want, which is more performance.”

Formula 1 is still wrestling with introducing a budget cap from 2021 and Szafnauer stressed that Force India will expand with that possibility in mind.

“We won’t go above and beyond what cap we think is coming, so we’ll grow slowly and organically, not just add at the beginning,” he said.

“From a human resource perspective we’ve got to grow intelligently – not necessarily slowly, we can grow fast, we just have to do it in a measured way.”

Perez, already signed for 2019, is set to be joined by current Williams racer Lance Stroll.

Force India is also poised to change its name ahead of next year.