Adrian Sutil's claims that he's rather have a good car that launched later than its rivals was leant some credence by Force India design director Mark Smith, who insisted that giving the VJM02 its track debut just four weeks before the first grand prix of the season would not present too many headaches.

With only Scuderia Toro Rosso still to get its hands on a 2009-spec car - despite sister team Red Bull Racing unveiling the similar RB5 at the start of February - Force India staged the penultimate launch of the season at Jerez on Sunday, 24 hours after it had made sure the new car worked in shakedown across the road from its Silverstone base.

Although veteran Giancarlo Fisichella admitted that he was disappointed with a limited amount of running as the team joined the latest group test in southern Spain, Smith insisted that the late arrival of the VJM02 would not be too big a problem.

"Ideally, you would have more testing, but it isn't a major issue," he claimed, "One of the biggest disadvantages will be knowing what the life of the new parts is. Normally, in pre-season testing, we would put more life on each part than it would be subject to under race conditions but, with only eight days, we won't be able to do this. It will just put a greater onus on rig testing and grands prix Fridays."

Smith confirmed that, with stringent regulations now governing the amount of running teams can do between races, the focus of development and problem-solving would be switched elsewhere.

"With no mid-season testing, it does make life more difficult, but you should never be in a situation where you put a part onto a car and have a doubt about it," he pointed out, "Really, you would use a test to check the reliability and the life, rather than whether it works.

"We will have eight days of testing, plus two shakedowns. The first shakedown, which took place at Silverstone on 25 February, allowed us to determine and fix any major issues, check the systems and so on, and then the Jerez test will be used to identify the aero load on the car and get some feedback on handling. Following this test, we'll see where we are, assess any outstanding problems and then try to fix a set-up for Melbourne.

"It does mean we will have to be smarter with regards to reliability and also that Fridays at a grand prix will be more valuable than ever. I think we will see real work conducted, so car set up, development and mileage rather than simple tyre comparisons. It will certainly make the weekends more exciting."

The delay in unveiling the team's second car - which was revealed bearing the colours of the Indian flag in place of last season's red, white and gold - was caused in part by the new technical partnership Force India enjoys with McLaren and Mercedes, which will see it running the German marque's engines instead of the Ferrari units it campaigned in 2008.

"From Force India's perspective, the main change we have had from 2008 is the new engine from Mercedes-Benz and the gearbox from McLaren," he confirmed, "and when we confirmed the partnership on 10 November 2008, we had to adapt our plans fairly significantly.

"Adapting to a new engine and gearbox is not actually fundamentally difficult, the biggest factor has been the timeframe we have worked with. We had got a fair way down the line with our 2009 plans at that point, and then had to adapt them to the new suppliers. Normally, you would have started in August, so we have had to compress everything into five months. [But] everyone has really worked hard to make it work and we've got a potentially better package, so the change has been a positive rather than a negative.

"It's not just a case of getting the new parts and installing them. When we changed the gearbox, it had slightly different suspension mountings and, when we changed the rear suspension, there was a necessary change on the front. Other areas subject to change were the fuel cell, and the cooling system, and all have been challenges in their own right, but not day and night differences as you've seen on the aero side."

Despite confirming that the VJM02 will benefit from 'the supply of engines, gearboxes, hydraulics systems and KERS', Smith admitted that the team had not yet taken a decision on whether to run the latter, which becomes an option for the first time this season.

"Our car is fully KERS compliant, but whether we run the system will be decided jointly by Force India, McLaren and Mercedes," he revealed, "We haven't seen the whole benefit [of the partnership] just yet, as we have been working flat out on the car but, so far, everything has been positive," Smith confirmed, "The relationship has been very good and we have gelled very well given the limited amount of time we have worked together. The big talking point has been how we approach development, how we track test items, how we introduce significant updates. The process works well."



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