Despite looking similar to last year's midfield contender, Sahara Force India
insists that its VJM06 is essentially a 'new' car for 2013.
The third car to be overseen by technical director Andrew Green, the VJM06 builds on the strengths of the 2012 machine and, with stable technical rules, is more evolution than revolution, a trait it likely shares with every challenger being unveiled over the next couple of weeks.
The team's decision to fit a vanity panel where the VJM05's stepped nose used to be is the most obvious visual change, although it promises that there are other meaningful differences under the white, orange and green skin bodywork.
“The VJM06 doesn't look massively different to its predecessor but, beneath the skin, we've looked at every detail to try and find more performance,” team principal Vijay Mallya insisted, “I've followed the development of the car closely and I'm proud of what we have achieved. The objective now is to make sure we build on the promise of last year and have a strong start to the season.”
With Force India
being beaten to sixth place in the standings by Sauber, and then losing key driver Nico Hulkenberg
to the Swiss squad over the winter, there is more than just pride to play for in 2013.
“It's a brand new car from the ground-up – everything is new,” Green revealed, without going into too much detail, “We discussed carrying over big chunks of last year's car, including the chassis, but decided not to. There were still some gains to be had with the chassis, so we elected to take the performance benefits.
“The biggest change that everybody is going to notice this year is the fairing on top of the nose to hide the 'step'. It's neutral as far as the car's performance is concerned but tidies up the flow over the top of the chassis.”
The VJM06 will continue to be powered by Mercedes engines, mated to gearbox supplied by McLaren
Applied Technologies for a fifth season. It will also be the third season that the team has used the Mercedes KERS system.
The car was revealed by di Resta and deputy team principal Paul Fernley ahead of its maiden run at a cold and damp Silverstone, but the Scot admitted that he was happy with his first impressions.
“Seeing the car built and complete for the first time is a special feeling,” he said, “I've followed its progress in the tunnel and it looks very impressive - aggressive and fast. Now I'm just eager to get out there and see where we stand compared to our competitors!”