Vijay Mallya's supposed shenanigans have zero effect. they have had zero effect for the last years and won't have coming season. I resent that Vijay is treated like that, people have judged them aforehand based upon some lousy media articles that are one-sided and paint him as a evil guy, whilst the opposite is true. Nobody says he's a saint, but then again, point to me one that is. there are none. Some Indian people who feel like they can get money from him want his head. His point about getting handed to India and then risking torture is actually a valid point. People should really look into what happens in India, instead of thinking it's a peaceful country with a functioning system just because there's lots of riches there. Yes, there are big riches, but theres even bigger poverty, and it's one of the most corrupt countries on the world. Mallya hasn't returned to his 'home' country for years now because of these hyena's and corruption, he's gonna be toast. A little research provides he actually through lawyers tried to fix the 'problem' or bring payments to resolve the situation, but his 'prosecuters' are unwilling to comply and demand only one thing, that he gets there. if they were really honest about the cases, then the situation would have been resolved long ago. The justice system in india ALREADY has sentenced him without a fair trial, what do you expect is gonna happen?
Anyway, back to Force India itself.
The Merc power will keep them still in a strong position. The chassis too, they have a very very good chassis especially concidering their budget. On top of that they have one of the strongest driver pairings. The only 'weakness' they might have is that both drivers don't really enjoy eachother - not different to Rosberg-Hamilton. The chassis however might be facing it's 'natural evolving end' though one must say, little changes for next season in that department anyway. Some mentions above absolutely are true, Perez is a natural talent for tire management, Force India produce a chassis that doesn't overheat and helps reliability. Their car is strong on almost every circuit. They have a solid team that is virtually the same for years by now, and have invested a long while into getting where they are now. Then, on top of that, this year they managed to grab a huge sponsor which brings them much desired money. That money has not been invested - too much - into this years car, but will be aimed for 2018, and next season they'll keep that sponsor and thus money flow intact.
that means that they'll have more money to spend than in the development process towards 2017, they have an even better driver pairing than before 2017, they are arguably the best team in spending their funds efficiently, and a bunch of their competitors will be in a less preferable situation come 18 season.
Toro Rosso will be all the way to the back, Honda power or not, Gasly and Hartley are one of the less exciting and weakest pairings i can recall. Alfa Romeo Sauber will make a jump forward from the back but still have Ericsson and rookie LeClerc, they wont get near them at all. Williams has been sinking down and down again like before despite massive money investments. Kubica is great but the team isn't. They'll be at the back. Renault probably will be in a better position next year but on the other hand, reliability has been an issue and you'll need that harder next year. Also, i feel Sainz vs Hulk clashes coming up.Mclaren is probably the only one to make things hard with Alonso, but then again they have that same Renault engine as Renault themselves. And, how will they now handle the pressure.
Haas is slowly fading back too. Grosjean's fire is burning up and becoming frustrated again, Magnussen is a rocket but a uncontrolled one, and well, the team isn't too good in developing.
Meanwhile, there are some other aspects to take into account
Mercedes will bring a total new chassis. Who knows what that'll bring them. It might make things harder for them, and bring the field closer together, which in turn could increase chances for contact and thus DNF's. Ferrari keeps everything almost the same. Not bad at all, but reliability has been a big problem and i can see even more of that happening, and then Vettel is a hothead. Finally, RedBull. Same renault engine, and we have seen what that did to them 17 season. They have arguably the strongest driver pairing though.
Conclusion; Force India is the team that seems to have things in place to maintain it's stability and circumstances just as this year whilst most around them change massively. I think they're able to once again get for that P4, and SFi usually is strongest at the season start, right when the competition is somewhat playing russian roulette. I think we might see some surprises from Force India in 2018.
Dumpster sounds so much more classy. It's the diamond of the cesspools.