2011 Season: Force India preview
19 March, 2011
|What they say:
Mar.19 (Force India) 2011 marks the fourth year of competition in the FIA Formula 1T World Championship for Force India. After its strongest Constructors’ Championship finish to date, the team is hoping to better the 68 points it achieved to secure seventh place in the series last year. The team’s solid 2010 performance saw it secure 15 points scoring finishes, nine Q3 slots and three double top ten finishes – establishing Force India as a consistently competitive outfit, regularly challenging for points and podiums.
With over 5,500km covered during the pre-season testing, the squad is now looking forward to the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Albert Park, Melbourne, next week.
What are your thoughts looking forward to 2011?
How do you think the new regulations will affect the racing this year?
Paul Di Resta (car 15, VJM04/02)
How have you prepared?
What are your expectations for your first F1 race?
Nico Hülkenberg, test and reserve driver
How have you been preparing for the task ahead at F1 races?
What are your feelings heading to Australia?
|vv||What we say:
Mar.19 (Daniel Chalmers)
Strength: Two hungry and very quick drivers
Weakness: Team have lost some talent on the technical side in the last 12 months which could hold them back.
Force India has made great progress over the last few seasons, but the question is whether they can keep up this rate of progress.
Points wise 2010 was their best ever season scoring in 12 out of the 19 races. Agonizingly they finished just one point behind Williams in seventh position.
However it has to be said that the team scored the majority of their points in the first half of the season. In the second half of the season they slipped back, and appeared to be stalling.
A big problem for the team is that they have been changes in the technical department. The team have lost both Mark Smith and James Key, two very talented engineers who had a major impact on the team’s recent improvements.
The name in charge of the VJM04 is Andrew Green. Whether he can replicate the success enjoyed by his predecessors remains to be seen.
One positive at least, is that the team have retained their technical collaboration with the McLaren who supplies the team’s gearbox and hydraulics.
The team still have the pace setting Mercedes engine, and perhaps more importantly will be using the Mercedes KERs system. That could turn out to be golden nugget for them, and give them a key advantage on their rivals around them.
Despite this the pressure is really on Force India to produce a good car due to the progress of teams around them. Sauber now have investment from the world’s richest man. Williams are at the start of a new era and have built a very aggressive car. Toro Rosso is in their second year as a full works constructor and will be stronger as a result.
The risk Force India face is that they don’t keep up, and therefore fall to the back of the midfield and into the clutches of the likes of Team Lotus.
When you look at the car you certainly don’t sense a significant improvement. The VJM04 looks very much like last year’s car without many visible differences. It doesn’t look like the step forward we have seen from their nearest rivals.
Last season the team were quickest at high speed circuits. However these days there aren’t many high speed circuits on the calendar. The team would enjoy consistently better results if the VJM04 was more effective in slow corners than previous challengers.
You start to wonder if Force India has now started to reach their peak. It’s probable that major investment is needed to take the team to the next level.
Verdict: Force India really want fifth place in the constructors championship. However I feel that they are more likely to slip back than move forward. Their main rivals have really upped their game over the winter, and made much bigger strides forward.
Constructor’s championship prediction: 9th
Compiled by Daniel Chalmers
- Perez: Force India is very hungry and I hope we can achieve some great things this year
- Hulkenberg: I feel comfortable, but I think this feeling will grow stronger during the season
- Mallya: I think we can arrive in Melbourne feeling happy about the work we’ve done over the winter
- Mallya predicts early season dominance by Mercedes powered teams
- Force India: Our time in Bahrain has gone largely to plan
- Force India: We were able to do a lot of valuable work
- Perez: I have a comfortable feeling that we are in good shape for Australia
- Force India: Busy day with lots of miles completed and a great deal learned
- Force India: We were able to do some good long run simulations
- Force India: The programme was cut short by a drivetrain issue