Bangalore, Feb 10: McLaren and Mercedes can take Force India (FI) to new heights and it could be Formula One's surprise package said former driver David Coulthard. The Scot who retired in 2008 and presently serving as a consultant for Red Bull and expert for BBC channel told the sources that he expects to see considerable improvement from the Silverstone-based team.
He was speaking at the launch of Red Bull's new R85 at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain. "Force India could be the shock of the season," Coulthard said. Force India which had Ferrari engines in 2008, but after it failed to score a point, FI agreed a five year deal with McLaren and Mercedes to use their engines and gearbox as well as the new KERS energy recovery system.
Sources said that FI will also use McLaren's network of suppliers while Simon Roberts has joined as chief operations officer from McLaren.
But Force India is yet to reveal their 2009 car, also drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil will have little testing time before the season starts in Australia on March 29.
Speaking about McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, Coulthard said he expects Hamilton to go from strength to strength, despite the increased pressure on the 24-year-old Brit.
"He is two years in Formula One and an amazing first two seasons, just dripping in world class performance," he said.
"I think he's just a class act and he will handle it in his own way...I think he will always manage to be quite controlled and is the (Michael) Schumacher of the modern era, he is now the benchmark against which everyone has to be measured," he added.
OneIndia News (With inputs from Agencies)