The Farce India Saga

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Sergio Perez is not well liked within the sport and has been accused publicly by the influential F1 voices of Jo Ramirez and Livio Oricchio of ‘arrogance’.

Yet the Mexican’s self-belief leads him to speak his mind, which at times is telling. Speaking in Shanghai, Sergio reveals that “We’re quite far from the team ahead of us so in that respect, we need a big step in terms of pace.”

Further, Perez candidly reveals: “But if we don’t make the step that we are hoping for then it’s going to be a very painful year.”

The reality of the situation is that despite both cars scoring points in Melbourne, only 11 cars finished the race, and the Force India’s were ahead of just the McLaren Honda of Jenson Button. One race later, the Force India cars finished the race a lap down and ahead of one other car still running.

Sergio’s assessment appears fair – if not an understatement.

The tale of woe began for the Silverstone based team began in January when Force India revealed they would be running the ‘old 2014 car’ at the first test in Jerez. The official story from Vijay’s PR machine at the time was that the all-new VJM08 was receiving some fine aero tuning in the ‘new’ wind tunnel they were using in Cologne

These aero findings were implied to be imminent and substantive.

A week later, the team released a statement, which said Force India preferred to save the £500,000 and not run in Jerez at all. The VJM07 would therefore run for the second test in Barcelona, with Mercedes reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein behind the wheel for days 1 and 2. Presumably, Mercedes were paying for the privilege of their reserve driver receiving track time ahead of Hulkenberg and Perez.

Then TJ13 discovered and exclusively revealed that the new Force India car which would eventually hit the track with just 3 winter test days remaining, had been held to ransom and was holed up in a warehouse on the English South Coast until Mallya released cash for ‘works done’ by Formaplex (article: Piranha club is alive and kicking ).

Yet when the ‘new car’ finally broke cover, it didn’t take the tech analysis long to realise this was a VJM07.5 – merely upgraded to meet the 2015 nose height regulations; along with some side pod re-sculpturing and ‘hidden’ suspension upgrades.

However, Force India’s technical director, Andrew Green, would simply admit that “Throughout 2015, we will be looking forward to bringing updates to the car from start to finish; the first significant package should be at the beginning of the European season and it will be the first batch of upgrades based solely on the work done at the new wind tunnel.”

Yesterday Bob Fernley conceded that Force India would now be introducing their new 2015 car in Austria.

“It’s a major B-spec car as we’re looking to introduce a significant upgrade”.

Formula One Teams are reluctant to ever admit to ‘B-spec’ cars, usually because it means the new car designed for the year was fundamentally flawed, requires replacing and the ‘B-spec’ car is in actuality a new design.

In Force India’s case, this is clearly the car that we were supposed to see in the first Barcelona test.

When asked why the launch of the VJM08 proper had been delayed so, Bob Fernley replied: “We’ve just been getting the wind tunnels operating.

“People don’t realise what a big programme it is to move it to Cologne.”

It appears Force India didn’t realise the size of the project either, when they declared their VJM08 car would be good to go early in winter testing.

The real problem behind the scenes is not getting wind tunnels operating, but cash. Force India’s crediting rating has collapsed with suppliers and despite Ecclestone’s $10m advance to cope with this, the team are struggling to deliver the car that was due in February – it will now be late in June.

Vijay Mallya once declared as the ‘funder of our team’ appears reluctant if able to put any more cash into Force India. Co-Owner of the team and principal of the Sahara organisation, Subrata Roy, is now about to complete a year behind bars in New Delhi. Roy and Sahara were accused of defrauding millions of small investors, but the latest news on the matter is they may in fact have been washing billions of dirty dollars from global crime syndicates.

Further, Grant Thornton the auditors of the Silverstone based team, issued a qualified their opinion in November 2014 regarding the projected income of the Force India team. “This material uncertainty may cast significant doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

It should then be no surprise the subsequent farce over the VJM08 ensued.

Sergio Perez is right to feel dejected, because Force India are usually fast out of the blocks each year and fade towards the season end. This year there isn’t much fading that can be done – other than to fall behind McLaren and Manor F1.

“It’s really hard to keep motivated going into a race knowing it’s going to be a really hard race” commented Sergio.

Bob Fernley blamed Marussia and Caterham last month for the state of affairs F1 teams now found themselves – namely having to pay on completion of work – for work done by sub-contractors.

This has clearly hindered the Silverstone team’s ability to deliver their 2015 car due, originally due in February.

The excitement for most F1 observers this weekend will be whether Ferrari can keep pressing Mercedes into close racing. Yet for those who appreciate irony, the race at the back between Force India and Manor F1 holds far more intrigue.

Despite Force India objecting to Manor F1 running a 2014 car, possibly believing this would scupper their 2015 entry, both teams are struggling to get their full 2015 designs to track before the half way point of the year.

The Bonhomie amongst F1 strugglers is now gone, and a race for survival grips both set of racers.

17 responses to “The Farce India Saga

        • “Bonhomme” – a name used for the heretical Albigensian sect’s Elect Parfait

          The song, “Bonhomme”, by the French singer-songwriter and poet, Georges Brassens…

          What’s wrong??? They work!

          • Sure. The standalone “Bonhomme” is just fine.

            But in the phrase:
            “The Bonhomie amongst F1 strugglers is now gone”

            only “Bonhomie” flies, as in: “a disposition to be friendly and approachable”

            🙂

  1. a very interesting article. thank you for that. on another topic, a really hot one, could you possibly look at this ‘debacle’ with the addition of new fuel sensors for the china race and beyond. all the other sites appear to be too timid to put forward any evidence of who has been cheating the system. whoever it is, singular or plural, surely must have gained points unfairly and should be stripped as were red bull in melbourne in 2014. would be appreciated if you could enlighten us…..

    • The problem is, nobody has any evidence on possible irregularities re: fuel yet. We have a pretty good idea how it could be done technically, but we’ll have to watch China if any of the four PU’s suddenly suffer a relative setback – in Honda’s case that would mean remaining stationary really.

      Also, any points gained would be valid as all engines passed the FIA tests. It’s like the RB flexiwings. They flexed but FIA tests were passed. They only changed when FIA upgraded their tests. That’s what’s happening on the fuel front now.

      • Hold on a sec hippo. But did you not insinuate a few weeks back that Mercedes were the ones circumventing the rules?

        If I remember correctly, you tied it in with the team upping it’s injection pressure from 250 to 500 bars. You even went as far as saying that it couldn’t be Ferrari, because they wouldn’t have the time to develop the idea properly, given they were the ones who went with the 500 bar fuel injection system last season.

        So why the sudden change?

        • Surmise and inference, not the same really. It’s most likely, looking at the disparity, that Mercedes were taking full advantage of a loophole (in much the same way that Red Bull did with the flexi wings, or Mercedes with their tyre testing) and possibly Ferrari as well, now they have hired a bunch of former Mercedes personnel. But the fact that it’s likely doesn’t mean that they actually have done. With any luck, running on track might reveal the culprit, but as is sometimes the case, we might have to wait until the memoirs come out.

  2. Should we be surprised that F1 attracts people like Vijay Mallya? F1 is run by a dodgy geezer who’s lucked into billions because practically everyone else in a position of power thinks just like him. Bernie can’t be having anyone around who asks too many questions – Adam Parr for example. No surprise Audi won’t touch F1 with a bargepole.

    • “Should we be surprised that F1 attracts people like Vijay Mallya?”

      Let me rephrase that:
      Should we be surprised that F1 makes even people like Vijay Mallya run for the hills?

      🙂

  3. “F1, You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious. ”

    What movie?

      • Not according to Little Jean it ain’t. Last I heard he was planning to open up slots for new entrants…. 🙂

  4. To paraphrase Mark Twain, “reports of Force India death have been greatly exaggerated”.

    In January TJ13 reported:
    “TJ13 has been informed that Force India is close to collapse. ….., Force India will be unlikely to make the grid in Australia and Malaysia.”

    VJ and FI are LOL at TJ13 :
    He he he he !

    • Usual lightweight comment we expect from PK I suppose…

      The quote was, “Unless funds are injected into the team in the near future… Force India will be unlikely to make the grid in Australia and Malaysia.”

      Bernie 2 weeks later gave them a $10m advance – which of course is not a daily, weekly or even annual occurrence – and only happened because the team were on the brink of collapse…

      So in fact – it was a scoop for TJ13 – as once again – just TJ13 reported the perilous position of the Silverstone team.

      Yet, despite this Bernie advance – their new car is delayed by 5 months – Mmm – clear evidence of their satisfactory financial position.

  5. “Usual lightweight comment we expect from PK I suppose …. ”

    I have given up on heavyweight comment attempts as they tend to get snipped or obliterated completely – in other words “moderated” by the heavyweight mob in charge.

    I have also moderated the number of times I post now for the same reason.

    😉

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