Di Resta launches new Force India car
Paul Di Resta was the only Force India driver on hand to pull back the covers on the team’s new car as the Silverstone-based squad debuted its new VJM06 at the UK track today.
“We are very close to making our decision and I can assure you that we will arrive in Australia with one of the most exciting pairings on the grid.”
Dr Vijay Mallya
The team has yet to announce a replacement for Nico Hulkenberg, who has switched to Sauber for 2013, although team principal Dr Vijay Mallya insisted an announcement will be made soon.
“[Regarding Paul’s] teammate, we had a shortlist and have considered every driver who is available,” said Mallya. “We are very close to making our decision and I can assure you that we will arrive in Australia with one of the most exciting pairings on the grid.”
Force India finished the 2012 season in seventh place in the Constructors’ Championship, but picked up most of its best result in the second half of the season, with Hulkenberg fighting for victory at the season finale in Brazil. Referencing the new car, Di Resta admitted that the team must make a brighter start than last season if it is to improve this year.
“That has to happen and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t,” he said. “I think the pressure is on all the departments to make sure we start better. Last year we underperformed, certainly until the European season kicked in. We need to launch a car, understand it, and bring a race package to it – whether that’s at the Barcelona test or in Melbourne – that needs to make the car quicker than when it rolled out on the first day.”
The Scot is, however, optimistic for the season ahead. “I’m feeling very good, I must say,” he said. “I’m working very closely with my team of people, and that’s changed slightly in different departments. We’re all trying to do the best job possible. I know the way this team works and they know how I work. When it all gels well we can obviously see the results we get. We just need to make sure we can achieve that on a more consistent basis.”
Technical Director Andrew Green added that based on the lessons learned from the second half of last season that consistency should be possible.
“Last year we basically stopped bringing developments to the track just after the middle of the season so the trackside guys had a chance to understand what they had, rather than it changing every race, which is what had been happening up to that point,” he explained. “When you have a platform that is stable you can refine it and really dial it in. We focused on trying to understand what the car was doing and, importantly, how we worked the tyres. We used that extra knowledge for this year’s car and it helped quite a lot.”
The VJM06 is, however, a new design, though Green still believes it is not a radical departure.
“It’s a brand new car from the ground-up – everything is new,” he said. “We discussed carrying over big chunks of last year’s car, including the chassis, but decided not to. There were still some gains to be had with the chassis, so we elected to take the performance benefits. However, the car is evolution rather than revolution compared with last year, simply because of the nature of the regulations.”