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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Force India Previews Its New Nose and Livery

Sergio Perez & Nico Hülkenberg adopting the traditional "new F1 car" pose
While Williams Martini Racing has only shown us digital images of its new car, Force India have just unveiled a real one at its (tedious) reveal event in Mexico City, a city in Mexico which will host the Mexican Grand Prix this year. Mexican driver Sergio "Checo" Perez and not-Mexican Nico Hülkenberg were there to take the cover off and ramble on about pretty colours and Mexico being nice and stuff, in-between business ramblings from team boss and hair fashion rebel Vijay Mallya.

However, this is not actually the 2015 VJM08. It's last year's car with a 2015-spec nose and Sahara Force India's new livery, which reduces the number of different colours on it from five to three, ditching yellow and green (unless it has Soft or Intermediate tyres on). Also, white has been replaced with silver, and plenty of it... presumably because if it looks a bit more like a Mercedes, it will go around corners faster. The new livery also sports many Mexican sponsors, including Jose Cuervo (alcoholic beverages), Telcel and Claro (telecomms), the latter two moving away from Sauber who no longer have a Mexican driver.

How long will it be before they have to rename it Force Mexico? Maybe they'd need Esteban Gutierrez - who was moved from a Sauber race seat to a Ferrari reserve role - to move there and be competitive.


But as we must always do these days with newly-revealed Formula 1 cars, let's focus on the new nose. Last year's Force India had one of the biggest nose dildos of any team, rivaled only by Scuderia Toro Rosso. This year's "thumb tip" nose is designed as much by regulations as by aerodynamic principles, as discussed in the Williams post below this one, but this car's nose has a solution more in line with what Red Bull did last year, with a U-shaped top section growing out from the stubby little nose tip to make the nose wide while still allowing air underneath it at the crucial point. It's also been painted to draw the eye away from the protrusion. Black is slimming, don't you know. It could also be argued that it looks a bit like a Marussia nose from last year.

The team's technical director, Andrew Green, says the new regs demanding a lower nose "caused a loss in terms of downforce," and that "we’ve been working to claw back all that performance." This is almost definitely going to be true for all the teams, as there is less freedom to manipulate the air around the bottom of the car.


The new nose - and the rest of the 2015 car, which we shall see in February - is to be honed and developed at Toyota's aerodynamics test centre in Cologne, Germany, a world-class facility which the Brackley-based team will use from this year onwards for aero research, having previously hired out the facility for its very highly-regarded wind tunnel. This will allow them to use a half-scale model as well. Meanwhile their own aero facilities will be available to external customers who ask nicely (read: pay a lot).

Less encouraging news is that the team will miss the first of the three four-day pre-season tests next month, for undisclosed reasons. Lotus had to skip the first four days last year because their car basically wasn't finished yet, and they had, by all accounts, a terrible season. Hopefully this year Checo and The Hülk won't be held back by a poorly-developed car like Pastor and Romain were in last year's pathetic and hideous Lotus. In fact, Lotus have switched to Mercedes engines this year, so they'll be giving Force India a run for their money in the race not to be the slowest of the teams using the fastest engine.

We will see how the Force India VJM08 is different behind the new nose at the start of the second pre-season test on 19th-22nd February at Cataluña. The rest of the teams will appear for test week one on the 2st-4th of Feb, at Jerez.

For now, more official livery pictures (from F1 Fanatic) and a screenshot from the reveal live stream.






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