Force India’s technical director Andy Green says the team’s new car is “a big departure” from its predecessor.
“We’ve got a new front wing which sets up all the basic structures along the car and it’s a big step for us.” said Green at the launch of the Force India VJM05.
“It took us quite a long time and to go away from how perhaps we traditionally worked. The package is a big departure from what we’ve done before and the wind tunnel numbers are really encouraging and we’re looking forward to getting it on the track and seeing if it does produce what it should do.”
Green expects the banning of exhaust-blown diffusers to close the field up in 2012: “The loss of the blown-exhaust is a bigger effect than lowering the nose. Massively bigger.
“We were quite late with extracting what we could from our diffuser last year and I don’t think it reached its potential by a long way. There were teams out there who extracted way more than we did. Hopefully it will hurt them more this year than it will us.
“We spent the winter trying to salvage all the downforce we lost and I think we’ve got close. My feeling is that it should close the field up. You only have to look at Silverstone last year [where the regulations temporarily changed] to see what effect it had.”
Deputy team principal Bob Fearnley said the team aims to improve on its 2011 finishing position of sixth: “I don’t think Vijay [Mallya] will accept anything less than fifth. I was pleased in a way we didn’t finish fifth last year, otherwise we would need to finish fourth this year!
“It will be tough as most of the teams out there are capable of achieving fifth in the constructors’. I think the battle for fifth place will be as equally as exciting to watch as the scrap for the top of the table.
“It’s not going to be an easy ride, by any means.”
All the teams will have to contend with the longest ever F1 calendar this year, featuring 20 races. Team COO Otmar Szafnauer said Force India were “almost at breaking point with the 18 and 19 race calendar”.
“We have put some systems in place to make it easier for the staff to help them on their travels,” he said.
“We’re prepared and I think we’ll do okay. They’ll all do the same races and we won’t be employing additional people to help trackside, but we’ve invested in equipment that should mean on a Sunday night they don’t have to strip and rebuild the car ahead of the next race. It should save them a good six or seven hours. So Sunday will be less arduous for them.”
Quotes and additional reporting by Dan Cross.
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