Despite issues regarding connection to the live-stream for some viewers, fans were able to lay their eyes upon the first 2015 challenger today, as Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez pulled the covers off of the VJM08. Strictly speaking, the car on display was the 2014 equivalent, but with this year’s nose design and a striking new livery, the ceremony was very much a case of introducing a new machine.
Following the images released by Williams of the FW37, declared as official earlier today, it was evident that the latest batch of car releases will see analysts train their eagle-eyes towards the front of the car. Much like last year, the area of aesthetic interest is on the nose.
The VJM08 seems to have achieved an aesthetically pleasing design, which appears to have taken inspiration from the Red Bull and Marussia alternatives on display in 2014. The protruding proboscis has been shortened in compliance with the regulations and has been painted black, to ensure that it seamlessly blends into the background.
It certainly begins a trend which flows throughout the rest of the car – aesthetically, the VJM08 is striking. A brief glance at the Twitter-verse would suggest that opinions are, however, divided. It seems that many fans are questioning the absence of green from the livery, for the first time in the team’s history. Much has been made over the years of Force India’s unique identity and the livery has been a defining mechanism of proclaiming this characteristic. It seems as though in their desire to make a more “aggressive” look, they have strayed away from this constant. However, unlike if Ferrari suddenly unveiled a yellow challenger, the lack of green will surely not lead anyone to despair.
One constant that is abundantly apparent is the streak of orange. Its a colour which is most commonly associated with India and as such, this invariably translates to Force India’s liveries. In the case of the VJM08, it is perhaps more subtly applied than in previous years, but applied to good effect. Against that silver and black backdrop the vivid colour is imposing. It has led many to draw parallels with pre-2007 McLaren’s, which displayed a similar design. While this will perhaps see Force India’s artists loose marks for originality, McLaren’s liveries were always a personal favorite of mine and as such, I have no objection to seeing a similar livery make a return.
Overall, the launch ceremony was a success. Based in Mexico City on account of Force India’s new Mexican partners, it was a great advert for the sport and should hopefully galvanize additional interest ahead of this year’s eagerly anticipated return to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, after a 21 year absence. The question remains as to whether Sergio Perez can give the home crowd something to smile about when he returns to his homeland in October.