Accept No Imitations – The VJM08

The VJM08 has been introduced to the world in various stages. First came the livery launch back in mid-January, followed by the VJM07 adorning the new colour scheme in last week’s Barcelona test. Finally, the VJM07 chassis has been parked and we now have a render of Force India’s 2015 challenger – and based on aesthetics, I would say that it was certainly worth the wait.

Actual VJM08

When Mexico City played host to Force India’s livery launch, the car on display was fundamentally the VJM07, with an alternative nose profile. While many initially speculated that this was the 2015 nose, the team’s Technical Director Andrew Green set the record straight, by highlighting that the design was merely a flavor of 2015.

What has followed has been a string of disappointing headlines for Force India fans. The team announced that they would not attend the opening pre-season outing in Jerez. This absence was compounded by the announcement that the VJM08’s first expedition would be delayed further, as the VJM07 received a recall to be driven in the second pre-season test. With many analysts concerned that the new Force India may be unable to hit the track prior to Melbourne, today’s news comes as a relief – we will see the VJM08 in the third and final pre-season test.

“The VJM08 will arrive in Barcelona on Friday morning and the final set up will take place in the garage at the track,” Force India’s chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer stated. “We are aiming to get out on Friday and the new car will run as much as possible over the weekend.”

As noted in my response to their livery launch, the design is stunning. A pleasing addition to the livery first seen in January is a streak of green running along the joint between the side-pod and the floor – it compliments the silver and black styling and ensures that the essence of India remains a feature of the team’s livery. In my opinion, it is the green and orange colour scheme which makes Force India unique and easily identifiable.

Meanwhile, the aesthetics of the nose manage to top even the beauty of the livery. For me, it is the pick of the bunch. Obviously, it is yet to be seen on track, but judging by the render released today, it is nicely packaged and a vast improvement on not only the appeal of last season’s equivalent, but also the design seen in Mexico City. It certainly gets my seal of approval.

What Force India need from this final test is reliability straight out of the box. Szafnauer has highlighted that the team are aiming to start their programme on Friday, yet on account of his statement, it sounds as though we could have to wait until Saturday before the car hits the tarmac. With a maximum of three days to run the new car prior to the FP1 in Australia, the team cannot afford to have any programme-curtailing issues. If its reliability is as good as its aesthetic appeal, then the team have nothing to be concerned about.

Image Credit: Sahara Force India

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