Hulkenberg to debut new Force India on Friday afternoon

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Force India has confirmed that Nico Hulkenberg will get the first opportunity to drive its new car, the VJM08, when it makes its on-track debut in Barcelona on Friday.

The team has encountered a number of problems over the winter with its new car, forcing it to miss the first pre-season test in Jerez at the beginning of the month.

For last week’s test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Force India opted to run with its 2014 car so it could evaluate the new Pirelli tires and also to give Mercedes youngster Pascal Wehrlein some formative running.

However, after a releasing a render of the VJM08 yesterday, the team has now confirmed that it will be seen in the flesh on Friday afternoon in Barcelona with Nico Hulkenberg behind the wheel.

Given that many within the F1 paddock feared that Force India may not have been able to debut its new car until the first race of the year in Australia, getting the VJM08 to Jerez can be seen as a victory in itself for the team.

However, if we are to naively assume that the next few days will be trouble-free, the team will still be on the back foot given that it will have completed less than one-quarter of the running that other teams have managed during winter testing.