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Force India’s VJM09 begins testing in Spain

22 Feb 2016

Force India marked the beginning of their 2016 season on Monday morning as Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez pulled the covers off the team’s new VJM09 car in Barcelona.

They were joined by the team’s development driver, Alfonso Celis, as they posed for photos in front of the world’s media ahead of the start of the first all-team, pre-season test.

Force India say the stability in the technical regulations means the VJM09 is more evolution than revolution, building on the strengths of the 2015 B-spec chassis that helped the team secure fifth place in the championship last year.

“You can say the b-spec car from last year formed a basis on which to build our 2016 one,” explained technical director, Andrew Green. “We were in a situation in which the performance on track was very good, and in which the data we were getting correlated well to what we were expecting, so we knew we could continue to develop on a solid platform. With the regulations likely to change for 2017, it didn’t really seem like an efficient use of our resources to start from scratch on a project that would have such a limited lifetime.”

The VJM09 retains the distinctive black and silver livery introduced last year, as team principal Vijay Mallya explained: “The colours reflect our partners and heritage. Although I’m biased, I think our car is one of the best looking on the grid and that’s why I wanted to keep a consistent look for 2016. As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Expectations for the VJM09 are high as the team looks to build on its best ever performance last year. “I want us to begin 2016 in the same way that we ended 2015,” confirmed Mallya. “Our technical team is excited about the progress we have made over the winter and there’s every reason to believe we can stay at the front of the midfield battle.”

Chief Operating Officer, Otmar Szafnauer added: “The wind tunnel programme in Cologne is maturing nicely and I’m encouraged by the gains we have made over the winter. The first major aero updates should be on the car in time for Melbourne and we also plan another big step for the start of the European season.”

First to drive the car will be Celis, who also tests on Thursday. Perez gets his first taste of the new machine on Tuesday, with Hulkenberg at the wheel on Wednesday.

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