Sahara Force India heads into the traditional start of the European season hoping that a series of updates to the VJM09 chassis will maximize its potential and improve its results.
The thinking is that the updates, which weren’t specifically outlined in the team’s advance release today, will seriously enhance competitiveness.
Thus far the team have just 8 points on the board – 6 from Nico Hulkenberg in Melbourne and 2 last time out from Sergio Perez at Sochi – although Perez bounced back nicely from an opening lap cut tire while Hulkenberg was among those caught up in the first lap mess.
Team principal Vijay Mallya is keen to see the updates pay dividends this weekend:
“It’s on schedule to be fitted to both cars ahead of Friday practice,” Mallya confirmed. “It’s pretty comprehensive and the car will look quite different.”
Mallya said the team’s results don’t match their competitiveness thus far this year.
“In Sochi we were the innocent victims of the first lap chaos – as was the case in Bahrain too,” he said. “It’s frustrating because, even with the benefit of hindsight, it’s hard to see what we could have done differently. We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time with both cars, which caused a puncture for Sergio and ended Nico’s race. To see Sergio recover from the back of the pack and score points was a tremendous effort.”
“I hope we’ve used up all of our bad luck already! We’ve yet to see how we perform in a clean, trouble-free race without safety cars, red flags or accidents. Despite not realising our potential in Sochi, we took encouragement from our qualifying and race pace: the car is improving and we’ve got a good base on which to build. There are 17 races to go and I’m confident the best is yet to come. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
Perez added, “Barcelona will be the first chance to run our updated car. It’s going to be a huge task to understand everything on Friday, but it’s always exciting to try new parts on the car.”
Hulkenberg also added, “I felt pretty disappointed about what happened in Sochi. In fact, things have gone against us for the last few races. We know we should have scored more points, but it’s impossible to plan for the bad luck we’ve experienced. I’m looking forward to a weekend where everything goes to plan so that we can show our true potential.”