Nico Hulkenberg has labelled the updated VJM08 as a 'step forward' as Force India enjoyed a quick and trouble-free first day with its much anticipated new car.
Brandishing a number of upgrades, with a particular emphasis on aerodynamic modifications, the new VJM08 proved impressively quick out of the box, with Hulkenberg in particularly barely straying outside the top ten through the day.
Ending FP2 with the ninth fastest time, Hulkenberg says the car – which is in the early phase of its on-track development – already feels stronger than its predecessor.
“I think it was a positive day for us to finally run it and find some really good things with it,” he said. “Straight away we have made a step forward with our performance, especially at this circuit which is high-speed dominated, which used to be our Achilles Heel.
“Now the car feels stronger, definitely. Of course we are still discovering, exploiting the car, the set-up, the options… but so far so good.”
Even so, though Force India comes to Silverstone fifth in the constructors' standings after a strong run of recent results with its outgoing cars, Hulkenberg says it will still be hard to emerge with points from the tight mid-field come Sunday.
“On Sunday we want to challenge for points. By the looks of it, we had quite a smooth Friday, but it is still tough. You have Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull buried in the front more or less, so that is the first six already. Behind them Toro Rosso looked strong, especially on the long run.
“Williams today were struggling but it is often like that and then they become much stronger. I expect a competitive and tough weekend, the points are not easy and won't come for free, so we will have to work for them.”