Sahara Force India team principal Vijay Mallya insists that he squad will come out fighting from the start of the 2013 F1 campaign, boosted by a high-flying finale in Brazil last November.
Although the German is no longer with the team, having transferred to Sauber over the winter, Nico Hulkenberg's run at the front of the field at Interlagos not only raised morale at the end of a long season, but also gave the team a glimpse of what may lie ahead of it gets it sums right for 2013.
“We begin 2013 hungrier than ever before,” Mallya confirmed, “We ended last season with a very competitive car and even led for 30 laps in Brazil. That's given everyone a taste of what it feels like to race at the front and shows what we can achieve when everything comes together.
“We were unlucky to miss out on a podium last year on several occasions so that is certainly a clear ambition for the year ahead. The first objective is to hit the ground running and have a strong start to the season. That's been our weakness for the last couple of seasons so we need to build on the momentum and carry on where we left off in 2012.
Hulkenberg's replacement remains among several unanswered questions surrounding the Silverstone-based team, but that was not allowed to cloud the unveiling of the new VJM06 across the road at the home of the British Grand Prix.
“I think everyone in the team is very excited about this car and eager to go testing and see where we stand,” Mallya continued, “With stable technical rules, the VJM06 doesn't look massively different compared to its predecessor, but beneath the skin we've looked at every detail to try and find more performance.”
Despite the financial questions raised over the health of the team, Mallya confirmed that a programme of investment designed to boost its potential in future seasons was already underway.
“We are currently looking for the land to build our new wind tunnel,” he revealed, “The team has done a remarkable job with the resources that we already have, but if we want to realise our long-term ambitions we need to give our engineers the best tools available, starting with a state-of-the-art wind tunnel. The more immediate benefits of our investment are already in place for 2013 with greater CFD capacity.”
di Resta gave the VJM06 a shakedown run around Silverstone immediately following its launch, and will be back out in the car when pre-season testing gets underway at Jerez on Tuesday (5 February).