Force India take wraps off the VJM05 03 Feb 2012
Sharing the media spotlight with Ferrari, Force India unveiled their 2012 car in the pit lane at Silverstone on Friday morning. The team, who are based just down the road from the UK track, hope the VJM05 will prove quick enough to push them firmly into the midfield following their excellent progress in 2011, which saw them take sixth in the constructors standings.
We have set our sights on challenging for fifth place, explained team principal Dr Vijay Mallya. To do so we will need to begin the new campaign by delivering the kind of form we showed in the second half of 2011. I believe this is a realistic goal and that we have the talent and determination to realise these ambitions.
The Mercedes-engined machine boasts heavily revised sidepods and a stepped nose, in line with this years regulation changes, with camera housings mounted at its tip giving a 'hammerhead' appearance. It is the second car to be created under the watch of technical director Andrew Green.
The car looks more refined; a lot racier and a lot more purposeful, said Green following the launch. You can start to see the aerodynamic concepts coming through now. It looks quite a bit different to the previous years, and so far the performance in the tunnel has been encouraging.
The VJM05 will be raced by Scotlands Paul di Resta and Germanys Nico Hulkenberg, who were both in attendance at the launch, alongside newly-signed third driver Jules Bianchi.
Seeing the new car built and complete for the first time is always an exciting moment, said Di Resta. Its when you realise that all the waiting is finally over and the season is beginning for real. Ive had a good winter and Ive recharged my batteries, but now Im fully focussed on 2012 and looking forward to the start of testing. Theres a really positive feeling in the team, good stability and hopefully we can pick up where we left off at the end of last year.
Hulkenberg, who was the teams third driver in 2011, added: I saw the new car in the wind tunnel a few times and followed its progress during the winter. It looks aggressive and fast, but we wont know where we stand until we get out there and compete against the others.
"Preparations for the new season have been full-on with simulator sessions and lots of fitness training. I feel ready to get back to racing and Im excited to find out what the new car feels like next week.
With the pit-lane photos complete, Di Resta had the pleasure of giving the VJM05 its track debut as he conducted a brief shakedown of the car around the Silverstone circuit. It will begin its pre-season testing in earnest next week, at Jerez in Spain from Tuesday.
For tickets and travel to 2012 Formula One races, click here.
For Formula One and F1 team merchandise, click here.