Back in February, even the most optimistic of Force India fans were forced to temper their expectations for their team’s up-coming campaign. Following their lavish livery launch at the Soumaya Museum in Mexico City, the VJM08 was delayed, with the team announcing that a substantial upgrade package would arrive mid-season to compensate for a winter based on relocation. However, the team’s damage limitation exercise has proved to be a huge success, as they lie fifth in the constructors championship and look set to consolidate their position as the much anticipated aerodynamic overhaul arrives for the British Grand Prix.
It is no wonder, then, that Nico Hulkenberg is “looking forward” to sampling what the new and improved VJM08 has to offer.
Both he and his team have enjoyed an upturn in fortunes of late. Undoubtedly, the nature of the previous two venues have concealed the aerodynamic deficiencies of the car, but nonetheless, yielded an excellent 14 points. Given the tight nature of this season’s midfield scrap, this has seen the team leap past Sauber and Lotus in the constructors standings into a fifth place which downplays the difficulties endured by the Silverstone based outfit so far this year.
These difficulties were largely self-inflicted, but with long-term goals in mind. In what appeared to be a step backwards in order to take two steps forwards, the team moved to the Cologne windtunnel, but with Caterham vacating the facility later than Force India had envisaged, their programme was delayed to the extent that this weekend’s British Grand Prix will be the first race in which the benefits of the move will be realised.
Hulkenberg, who has jumped to ninth in the championship in what has become a fully-fledged purple patch for the German, is excited to see if Cologne looks good on Force India’s 2015 challenger. “I am really looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the upgraded VJM08 at Silverstone, which will give us the first impression of what we can expect in the second half of the season,” he said.
Certainly, the team’s early season form bodes well for the second half of the year. As Bob Fernley has acknowledged in an interview with Motorsport.com, “I think I would have ripped your arm off” at the prospect of being fifth in the championship by mid-season, if such a position was offered in March. The upgrades for Silverstone were tested on the second day of testing in Austria last week, with a rather dramatic change to the nose making headlines and highlighting the scale of this update package.
Having ridden the storm with relative ease, the team could be about to cash in on their costly move to Cologne in a second half of 2015 which is set to be an exciting time for Force India fans. Hulkenberg and teammate Sergio Perez could become regular challengers to Williams in the coming races and even threaten Red Bull’s far from secure grip on fourth in the standings.