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Force India debut the VJM01 in Barcelona 25 Feb 2008

The Force India VJM01 track debut. Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain, 25 February 2008. World © Sutton The Force India VJM01 track debut. Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain, 25 February 2008. World © Sutton The Force India VJM01 track debut. Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain, 25 February 2008. World © Sutton Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 VJM01 Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain, 25 February 2008. World © Patching/Sutton

Force India’s 2008 car, the VJM01, made its first on-track appearance at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya on Monday, as the final pre-season Formula One test got underway at the Spanish track.

The VJM01, named in tribute to the team's owners, Dr Vijay Mallya and Jan and Michiel Mol, is an evolution of the B-spec F8-VII that Force India's predecessor, Spyker, launched at the 2007 Italian Grand Prix.

Developed throughout the year at the team’s UK base and wind tunnels in Brackley, UK, and Aerolab, Italy, the B-spec represented a significant step forward for the small Silverstone-based squad, with optimised mechanical and aerodynamic packages.

“We have carried the chassis over from 2007 to 2008, but the car we run at the Australian Grand Prix will have numerous aerodynamic and mechanical updates, which we will be testing from 25 - 27 February at Barcelona before the first race,” explained chief technical officer, Mike Gascoyne.

Mechanically, as well as aerodynamically, the chassis has also been updated. Last season the rear suspension geometry was significantly revised, with the rotary dampers replaced with linear ones, and a new gearbox design targeted at complying with the new 2008 gearbox rules where each 'box must be used for four races. The engine installation was also reviewed to make cooling resources lighter, more compact and much more efficient.

Despite debuting the new car just two weeks before the start of the ’08 season, Gascoyne believes the team will not be a significant disadvantage in Melbourne. “We've been testing new parts and looking at reliability,” he added. “It's just one update we have coming along for the last test and it will be mostly aerodynamic and will have no real impact on reliability.

“I am not worried that we are just testing them for the first time a very short while before the season as this has been done to give us the maximum time possible in the wind tunnel.

“Over the winter we have really been working with the new drivers, and we've certainly shown a new level of competitiveness, which is something that will benefit us going forward. There has been a lot of work going on in the background and we should look to go to Australia and be very reliable, especially in the first few races and pick up whatever we can.”

Force India’s 2008 driver line-up comprises Adrian Sutil, who raced for the team as Spyker last season, and Giancarlo Fisichella, formerly of Renault. Ex-Toro Rosso racer Vitantonio Liuzzi is the team’s test and reserve driver.