Force India VJM09 for the 2016 F1 season

Tobias Grüner
Force India VJM09 for the 2016 F1 season
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A new old car

D he new Force India VJM09 is the further development of the B version of the previous year's car. Because the new aero concept only made its debut at Silverstone 2015, Force India was able to afford the luxury of concentrating on detailed solutions.

Force India didn't have to reinvent the racing car. The basis of the new VJM09 already drove in the second half of the season as a B version of the VJM08. So Nico Hülkenberg and Sergio Perez are sitting in a new car, but it has already played half a GP season. Technical director Andy Green and his team were able to concentrate on the detailed work.

The new Force India only looks like the old one at first glance. 'We continued to develop the 2015 B-car from Silverstone onwards. Back then it was still such an immature concept with so much potential that we had to continue working on this basis. Since we knew that the regulations would remain practically the same in 2016, every development was for the 2015 car also one for the 2016 car. At a certain point in time, the two developments merged. There was no specific point at which we would have left one and started with the other. The concept is the same. '

The cooling inlets are now rectangular

Force India was the only team to stay true to its long nose with the holes. 'This solution has proven itself for us. It combines the advantages of a short and a long nose, ”explains Green. The nose itself is a bit thinner compared to last year, the holes maybe a bit longer. The S-shaft has also remained.

The biggest change is the cooling inlet. It's just rectangular. Last year the inlets were triangular in shape. Force India goes its own way with the side pods. With little undercut, but a slim tail very early on. The airbox is flatter than last year and has a powerful fin on its back. Also new are the brake ventilation, which is now equipped with a wing and a vertical baffle at the front.

Chassis are being manufactured in-house for the first time

In contrast to last year, Force India is on time. The new car was ready on the first day of testing. Sports director Otmar Szafnauer explains: 'We did a better job, the money at the right timeavailable. We had a similar budget last year, but the money wasn't there at the right time. At the same time, some suppliers tightened the thumbscrews over the bankruptcies of Caterham and Marussia. They wanted all the money up front. The partners are now giving us some breathing space again, but not as much as in the past. '

The technical department has also taken precautions. For the first time in the team's history, the chassis are being manufactured in-house you are dependent on external companies. 'This enables us to react faster if errors occur,' says Green with a sigh of relief. Chassis 01 was ready in the 49th week of the previous year. The crash tests were passed shortly before Christmas.

Aero development in three steps

The aerodynamics troop is now fully implemented in the Toyota wind tunnel. 'We can fully rely on the data, and the data promise a big step, especially for the first major upgrade in Barcelona,' says Green happily. The aero specification for the test drives was approved in November 2015. The Melbourne- Package was in the second week of January. In mid-February, the first major update for the Spanish GP came out of the wind tunnel.

The first kilometers with the new Force India VJM09 were reserved for test driver Alfonso Celis. Sergio Perez is on second day. The Mexican could live with it: “The weather forecast is better for tomorrow.” Nico Hülkenberg has to wait until the third day of the test. Then he will get a first inkling of whether his season goal can be met: 'I want to experience my best Formula 1 year this season.'

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