The Silverstone-based Sahara Force India F1 team launched its new 2017 specification Grand Prix challenger in The Wing at Silverstone Circuit on Wednesday, writes James Beckett.
The team’s two drivers, Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, pulled the wraps off of the Mercedes-powered VJM10 car, which they will race throughout the 2017 FIA F1 World Championship, starting next month in Australia.
The car boasted a new-look aerodynamic image, as allowed by the new liberal F1 regulations, and an updated livery that showcased the team’s expanded portfolio of partners.
Force India’s founder and Team Principal, Dr Vijay Mallya, was the first to praise the VJM10, saying: “I can’t remember being more excited ahead of a new season. The VJM10 looks aggressive and purposeful, and is the result of a huge effort behind the scenes over the last twelve months. We have big hopes for this car, which looks stunning in its new livery.
“Simply repeating our performance level of 2016 will be a big task in itself. I don’t want to set goals or targets other than to say that we intend to maintain the momentum we have built up in recent years and carry it into the new season. There are too many unknowns to say more than this.”
With regulations changing for 2017, all teams have been working hard on the design of new cars, and this particular project started its life as far back as last May when early drawings were completed.
“This year the cars are completely new and nothing can be carried over from previous years,” explained the team’s chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer.
“Although we have completely new aerodynamics on the VJM10, it’s fair to say that our aero philosophy is very similar to 2015 and 2016.”
Andrew Green, Technical Director, said: “The development slope is incredibly steep and we are going to see significant updates to the cars at regular intervals, right from the start.
“It’s going to be big updates and I don’t think development will start to taper off any time soon.”
Pre-season F1 testing starts next week, with the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona hosting the first group test which will see all of the new cars in action.