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Vijay Mallya urges Force India sceptics to 'eat their own words'

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Vijay Mallya has told those who doubted the lofty ambitions he set for Force India ahead of the 2017 season to eat humble pie after seeing the team consolidate fourth position in the championship.

At the launch of Force India's VJM10 at the start of this year, Mallya declared that his small Silverstone outfit could finish third in the championship. The top three turned out to be a significant step ahead in 2017, but Force India was consistently best of the rest behind and had fourth wrapped up long before the last race of the season.

Despite not quite finishing where he set out to, it meant a repeat of the team's finish in 2016. Team founder Mallya has hit out at the team's critics and praised its ability to achieve consistently strong results on a limited budget.

"We set out to achieve third but landed up with fourth for the second year running," he said at the Autosport Awards. "I had many sceptics who I advise to eat their own words and I hope it tastes good.

"I'm very proud that with our limited resource we've been able to punch well above our weight."

Force India's management are some of the fiercest advocates of a budget cap for F1 teams. In recent seasons it has frequently out-performed teams with bigger budgets, such as fellow Mercedes customer Williams, and Mallya sees no reason for that trend to stop next year.

"I have a great team of racers, with racing in their blood and who know how to make the most of what we have. We never give up. The targets for 2018 will be set high again and we're ready for our competition."