Only days ago, we reported that the current VJM07.5, essentially last year’s Force India with a nose job to satisfy the 2015 regulations, will be the crutch that Nico Hülkenberg and Checo Perez will have to make do with until the Austrian Grand Prix. The car was originally slated for a Barcelona test debut; then shifted back to the weekend of the Spanish GP; then postponed to Monaco only for this deadline to drift a few more races until race at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
Well folks, Guess what?
We learn today that the VJM08’s grand unveil will now not be in the Austrian hills which are alive to the sound of music.
According to Bob Fernley, the car will now be merely upgraded to a VJM07.821i. This will comprise of an aerodynamic upgrade package to replace the current Frankenstein vintage car. “It is about body work, wings, floor, all sorts of aerodynamic stuff,” Fernley tells the AMuS. “We had planned to bring it for Monaco, but we need more time for development. We won’t bring anything major for either Monaco or Montreal, but Austria where we have the benefit of the test.”
The bookmaker’s odds are competitive at present as to which will be delayed the longest; Lewis’ Hamilton’s new contract or the appearance of the all new VJM08.
Interestingly, Bob Fernley now insists that this late introduction of the VJM0-whatever you wish to call it, had been ‘planned’ from the start. “No, [the upgrades] have always been planned to come after the start of the European season. If you don’t start wind tunnel work before January, you simply can’t get into that time frame.”
Yet Force India’s story is a consistent as the launch dates they announce. Back in January, Andrew Green explained why the team had decided to give the Jerez test a miss. “It was a conscious decision we took a couple of months ago. Looking at the schedule and where we were as a team and where we were going with the new wind tunnel, and looking at the gap between Jerez and Barcelona, we thought to ourselves ‘actually, we could really do with that time in the new tunnel and the longer we can leave the launch of this car, the better for us and the more learning we’re going to do’”.
The implication was clear. Spend more time in the wind tunnel instead of going to enjoy the sun in southern Spain, to improve what then hit the Barcelona test track around 2 weeks later.
“We’ve never really been a big fan of Jerez as a test track,” added Green. “It’s very unique – the asphalt is very unique – we don’t race there and Pirelli are bringing the tyre that we tested in Abu Dhabi. We’re happy to give it a miss, to be honest, and take the development time.”
Given the fantastical tales that continually emanate from the Silverstone team this year, it could well be the next all new car they can afford to cobble together will be in 2016.
On present form it will be named… the PPCH-01 (Peter Pan & Capitan Hook).
Some would argue the former Spyker team would be no worse off with fictional characters as their owners, rather than a skint ex-billionaire and a criminal presently locked up in a New Delhi jail.