Monday 12 December at 09:35 :
Dec.12 (GMM) Force India has acknowledged it will be difficult to defend fourth place in the constructors' world championship next year.
Despite having one of the smallest budgets in the sport, the Silverstone based team finished fourth in 2016 behind the might of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari.
When asked by Auto Motor und Sport if Force India can target the same or better for 2017, sporting boss Otmar Szafnauer answered: "Of course, we always have the goal of continuing to move forward.
"But we have to be realistic this time. If we finish fourth next season, it would be a huge achievement.
"We are losing a good driver (Nico Hulkenberg) and there are big changes in the regulations, which favour the big teams. And behind us are teams that are bigger than us, like McLaren, Williams and Renault.
"So it will be difficult to defend fourth next year," he added.
However, amid reports that Force India is again asking for an advance in its official prize money for 2017, Szafnauer denied Force India is behind with its new car.
"Everything looks good," he said. "We are on schedule."