Force India is hoping for a revival across the remainder of the season with a ‘B-spec’ version of its VJM08 set to be introduced at the British Grand Prix, with the first parts scheduled to be trialled in testing today.
Force India was beset by financial difficulties across the winter period, which led to its 2015 car only being introduced at the final pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
While several days of testing with its 2014 machine enabled the squad to rack up tyre data, it was undoubtedly behind its rivals in terms of development ahead of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
The lack of pace was duly shown as Nico Hülkenberg and Sergio Pérez were 14th and 15th out of the 18 drivers who attempted to qualify for the race in Melbourne.
Nonetheless, the high rate of attrition enabled Force India to collect seven points at the first round, with Hülkenberg and Pérez consequently adding further points to leave the team fifth in the Constructors’ championship with 31 points. Considering where they were at the start of March, it is a huge achievement.
“We’re going to have it [the updates] for Silverstone, we will be doing some testing with some of the parts of the new specification," Pérez said.
"The main upgrade will come to Silverstone, it’s definitely very good news…we can aim for a much better second half of the year with an upgraded car.
With some of the updates set to be introduced in Austria today, ahead of a full race debut at Silverstone, there are reasons to be optimistic for the squad.
If the on-track results correlate with wind tunnel simulations, this will be hugely encouraging for the team, having moved its operations to Toyota’s 60% scale facility in Cologne over the winter period.
Force India struggled at the downforce-dependant Spanish Grand Prix, but the upgrade package should ensure a brighter performance at Silverstone, allied to the advantages of a Mercedes power unit, which will assist it at Spa and Monza.
Force India has spent the last two seasons in a year-long scrap for fifth position in the Constructors’ championship with McLaren, though on both occasions the superior resources harboured by Woking has enabled it to pull clear. McLaren’s current struggles with Honda has cleared the path for a midfield team to take fifth – if Force India’s upgrades deliver the promised breakthrough then it could reverse its usual trend of starting brightly before fading and collect a top result in 2015 – considering the bleak picture in February, it’d be quite the turnaround.