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Page last updated at 18:23 GMT, Sunday, 30 August 2009 19:23 UK

Spa 'no fluke' insist Force India

We have proved a point - Mallya (UK users only)

Force India believe they can now regularly compete for podium places after their brilliant shock performance at the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Giancarlo Fisichello was less than a second behind Ferrari race winner Kimi Raikkonen as he scored the team's first-ever points in Formula 1.

"You're going to see us competing right near the front at every race from now on," said team manager Andy Stevenson.

"This was no fluke. Just a fast racing car with quick drivers."

Traditionally finishing near the back of the pack, perennial underdogs Force India - now into their second season - reversed their fortunes after major recent updates to their cars came good at Spa.

We're here to stay - Force India manager (UK users only)

And buoyed by a race they came so close to winning, the Vijay Mallya-backed team insist they can do the same at the upcoming Italian Grand Prix on 12 September and beyond.

"This is [the result] of a lot of years work, but this year [in particular] we've changed a few things around," added Stevenson.

"Developments are coming thick and fast now. We've got some very clever guys working for us back at Silverstone and all their work is starting to pay off.

"So we're here for good now.

"[In terms of] Monza, we know we are very quick in a straight line so we're looking forward to getting there."

When asked whether Force India could build on their success at the fast-flowing Spa-Francorchamps circuit, Indian businessman Mallya was optimistic they could.

"I truly hope so," he told BBC Sport. "Yes, we have proved a point.

"We introduced a major update in Valencia and had a strong double finish in 10th and 12th. We put on a new front and rear wing package here for Spa. We qualified exceptionally well on pole and I guess the race result just flowed through."

This is what makes F1 all the more interesting. It also shows with a small budget you can achieve results

Force India owner Vijay Mallya

Echoing Fisichella's belief that he was actually the fastest driver on the track, Force India commercial director Ian Phillips paid tribute to the entire team.

"Everyone here did a brilliant job too, the pitstops were fantastic. It gives us at least one place in the constructors championship so that's worth a few quid," he said.

"Anyway, we're going to have some more of these [results]."

Mallya also said it was vindication for the team, who have effectively changed ownership four times since 2005 when they were sold by Eddie Jordan to the Midland Group.

"This is what makes Formula 1 all the more interesting," he said. "It also shows with a small budget you can achieve results. It's very special."

The only negative for Force India is Fisichella being linked with an imminent move to Ferrari which, should it happen, would see the team have to replace him in time for the 13th race of the season at Monza.

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see also
Fisichella closes on Ferrari move
31 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Belgian Grand Prix race results
27 Aug 09 |  Results
Highlights - Belgian Grand Prix
30 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
'No Ferrari approach yet' for Fisichella
30 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Button and Hamilton crash out at Spa
30 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Belgian Grand Prix photos
30 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Belgian Grand Prix as it happened
30 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Fisichella on shock Belgium pole
29 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Belgian GP qualifying as it happened
29 Aug 09 |  Formula 1

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