The new Force India VJM08 car may not make its official on-track debut until late in the final pre-season F1 test, according to deputy team principal Bob Fernley.
The team unveiled its fresh look for the 2015 season along with a range of new sponsors in a glitzy event in Mexico City, which is the focal point for the upcoming episode of Off The Grid.
However, the team was forced to miss the first pre-season test in Jerez due to a delay with the new car, which now according to Fernley may not get its first on-track run until the final test in Barcelona.
“The question for me is only how much of the third test we will participate in,” Fernley told the BBC. “We won’t make the second test at all, although we are looking at taking the 2014 car there to do a little bit of driver and tire work.
“I’m hoping we will make the start of the third test with the 2015 car, but we have to get as much of it as we can.”
Force India sparked outrage in the F1 community by vetoing Marussia’s bid to race in 2015 using its old car after moving to exit administration. Fernley has explained how the team’s application “lacked substance”, but his comments have since been refuted by the man leading the Marussia/Manor revival, Graeme Lowdon.
At best, it appears that Force India will have just four days of running with the new car before the start of the season, putting it on the back foot for the first race in Australia. Should this be the case, it is likely that the first few races would be more about testing for the team than anything else.