F1 Silly Season News: Force India

Force India Monaco

With F1 on its summer break, we're taking a look at the 2015 driver market. Next up it's ever-popular underdogs Force India.

Force India are enjoying a solid season thanks to two very different drivers. In Nico Hulkenberg they have a consistent performer who has scored points in 10 of the 11 races thus far, leaving the German an excellent seventh in the World Championship. His team-mate Sergio Perez has been less reliable, but when the Mexican is on form it pays off handsomely - as shown by his third-place finish in Bahrain.

So what direction will the team head in next season? History tells us that the Silverstone-based squad tends to favour consistency in its driver lineup, so wholesale change is highly unlikely.

Firstly, there is no reason for the team to drop Perez. Though he can be a little erratic at times, on his day he is outstanding. His podium finish in Bahrain was the team's first since 2009 and vindicated their decision to hire him, while for Sergio it was clearly a huge boost after his nightmare season with McLaren.

And of course, there is also the financial side. Perez brings significant backing from his native Mexico, and with the country's grand prix set to be revived in 2015 that investment will only grow. He is fast and well-funded - the perfect modern F1 driver - so the team can forgive the odd moment of brain fade. There is no reason to suspect he won't be wearing Force India colours again next term.

It was strange to see Perez grab the team's first podium in five years, because Hulkenberg has been the more impressive performer this term. The German has cemented his star-in-waiting status with a string of excellent drives, scoring points in every race until Hungary.

That has seen him rewarded with a healthy haul of championship points - 69 to Perez's 29 - and few would dispute that he is ready to win races.

But there appears to be no scope for a move up the grid. Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari look unlikely to change their lineups, while McLaren boss Ron Dennis is apparently unconvinced by Hulkenberg's talents.

That means he will likely remain at Force India - and the team will welcome him back with open arms.

If the stars do align and Nico secures a top drive, the Force India seat is one of the most attractive on the grid, allowing the team to choose the best combination of funding and talent available. This could involve running a young driver on behalf of a top team - such as McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne, or Ferrari man Jules Bianchi - or hiring a fast-and-funded feeder series racer. Meanwhile their current reserve, Mercedes DTM pilot Dani Juncadella, could also get a look in.

But none of these options would be the team's first choice; keeping the current squad together is top priority for 2015.

VERDICT: Perez is a cert to remain. Hulkenberg should return too, unless he receives an offer from further up the grid.