The first Formula 1 pre-season test in Jerez, Spain, is less than a week away, and we now get our first taste of the official 2014 challengers with Force India's Mercedes-powered VJM07, which, in line with the regulations overhaul from this year onward, is an almost entirely "new design, from the front wing right back to the diffuser."
"The genetics of the VJM07 still lies in the 2013 car, but we've had to achieve the same results in a slightly different way," explains team technical director Andrew Green. "It's been a massive job to accommodate all the changes to the power unit--it's the biggest change I've witnessed in the sport since I started in 1990. Cooling has been the biggest challenge, with most of last summer taken up trying to understand the cooling requirements of the power unit, and how best to optimize it in the chassis."
Not that many of those design and engineering innovations can really be seen in the single photo of the car that has been released so far, but the image does show Force India's new livery, which "reflects the way Sahara Force India is evolving," according to team principal Vijay Mallya. "I've always believed our cars have been the most eye-catching, but adding black as a main color [to the traditional saffron, white and green scheme] gives us a fierce new look."
More important, the livery includes the logos of Force India's new long-term Mexican commercial partners (brought in by new driver Sergio Perez), telecommunications brand Claro and lubricant oils specialist Roshfrans. Astana, "a foundation that supports sporting initiatives by promoting the capital city of Kazakhstan," also joins the roster of sponsors.
"When I founded the team, my first ambition was to launch the first Indian team on the grid, but the next stage in our evolution is to develop a global brand," Mallya relates. "I think that ambition is reflected in the partners we are working with and our world-class driver lineup. It certainly feels as though there is the potential for 2014 to be our strongest season yet."
Photo from Force India Formula 1 Team