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Seamless shift Force India's last major '08 development 11 Aug 2008

Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Force India F1 VJM01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Budapest, Hungary,  Friday, 1 August 2008 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 VJM01.
Formula One Testing, Day Four, Jerez, Spain, 25 July 2008

Force India are to focus their development efforts exclusively on 2009 once they have introduced their new seamless-shift transmission at the upcoming European Grand Prix in Valencia.

The last team to move to seamless shift, Force India debuted their new gearbox at the recent Jerez test and also ran it in Friday practice in Hungary. However, as both cars were on the third of a four-event gearbox cycle in Hungary, the new unit - the last major change on the VJM01 this season - was not raced.

“We are very happy with the results,” team owner Vijay Mallya told Formula1.com. “We did not use it in Budapest, but we will introduce it at the European GP in Valencia - and as far as I am concerned that’s it for the development for 2008 and all the focus from now on will be to develop a really competitive car for 2009.”

Although they have yet to score a point this season, Force India have improved considerably over 2008 in terms of narrowing the gap to the front of the field. Mallya believes they have paid the price for several years of underinvestment prior to his purchase of the team, but insists they are now on the right path.

“What I have realized is that I am not only catching up from last season, but catching up from the last three seasons - so three years, not one,” he said. “And we have caught up, even though Formula One has become so competitive, which is good.

“I am quite optimistic, however, that my experience so far has pointed us very correctly into the right direction. I know now precisely what I am up against, I know precisely the challenge before me, so I can plan better. I feel happy that maybe I learned the hard way, but it is good to learn! So 2009 will see a much more competitive Force India team.”

The team’s best 2008 result to date has been Giancarlo Fisichella’s tenth place at the Spanish Grand Prix back in April.