Force India’s VJM07 makes real-world debut

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After becoming the first team to put out an image of its new 2014 machine last week, Force India has officially launched the Mercedes-powered VJM07 this morning in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.

Today’s proceedings also marked the first time we had been able to get a good look at the front-end structure of the car, since the image released by the Vijay Mallya-led squad was a side view only – and we can safely put the VJM07 in the “anteater club” as this shot from Jerez shows:

The good news is that said “appendage” is painted in black, which makes it not as noticeable from the side:

In an interview last week with Formula One’s official website, Force India technical director Andrew Green noted that the first nose on the VJM07 would be a “launch spec” and that the team would eventually have “an updated front end of the car, which potentially is quite different.”

“We had to take quite a pragmatic view of it and say we’ve got to go testing, so we’ve got to get a car out of the door,” Green added.

Sergio Perez was scheduled to take laps in the new car today, with Nico Hulkenberg coming tomorrow and third driver Daniel Juncadella in for Thursday. Friday’s tester for Force India has yet to be revealed.

Formula One: Recapping the past week’s news

Photo: Getty Images
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While the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is still two months away from beginning its 2018 season, this past week did bring about news items that filled out the 2018 grid and shed some light on individual team and car launches as the season-opening Australian Grand Prix draws closer.

Below is a recap of F1 news from this past week:

Williams Signs Sirotkin for 2018 Drive, Names Kubica as Reserve Driver

The saga of the second seat at Williams Martini Racing was finally resolved early on in the week, with former Renault Sport F1 Team test driver Sergey Sirotkin officially confirmed as a teammate to the incumbent Lance Stroll in 2018.

The announcement concluded months of speculation that saw multiple drivers test for the team in an auditioning capacity. Most notably, Robert Kubica looked to be a main contender for the seat before Sirotkin emerged as the favorite.

However, Kubica, who has not raced in Formula 1 since a devastating rally accident in 2011 left him with brutal injuries to his right arm, was named as a reserve and development driver for the team.

This announcement also completes the 2018 Formula 1 driver lineup, with all 11 teams having their seats now filled. Among those who were left without F1 drives are Paul Di Resta, who drove for Williams at the Hungarian Grand Prix in relief of Felipe Massa and even tested with them during the Winter months, and Antonio Giovinazzi, who filled in for Pascal Wehrlein at the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix.

Former Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is also without a race seat for 2018, but did sign on with Scuderia Ferrari as a development driver.

Mercedes, McLaren Reveal Dates for Their 2018 Car Launches

While most teams have not yet released dates for when their 2018 cars will be publicly launched, three notables have.

Mercedes AMG Petronas will introduce its 2018 challenger on February 22nd, the same day Ferrari is doing so, while McLaren will unveil its car one day later on the 23rd.

Testing will commence on February 26th at Circuit de Catalunya.

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