Following a successful run in the second half of the 2009 Formula One season after their banner performance in Belgium, the Force India F1 Team began their challenge for championship points. Today, team owner Dr. Vijay Mallya with drivers Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi and reserve driver Paul Di Resta launched their new challenger, the VJM03, on Tuesday morning at the Jerez circuit in Southern Spain.
The VJM03 is built simply from improving on the foundations that the past car had already experienced. Design director Mark Smith has made it clear that if anything was added, it is probably because something was not successful in the past.
"The VJM03 is simply an evolution of last year's car in terms of the design philosophies that we have developed over the last year," said Smith. "We are happy with the direction; therefore we have opted to evolve the car than simply revise."
The team has only changed one driver for this upcoming season, and that is the new test and reserve driver, Paul di Resta, who impressed recently at the winter tests in Valencia, Spain. Otherwise, Force India is only a small fraction of the Formula One teams to retain their drivers for the year, with German Adrian Sutil and Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi.
For Team Principal Dr. Vijay Mallya, last season did have some success, but the Indian millionaire believes that more things can be achieved. "We've learned from our experiences and have come out a better team." Stated Dr. Mallya. "We are now more resilient, resourceful and now resurgent," he said.
"I hope that 2010 will see this great process carry forward. We've got one podium so far but I hope this time next year, I'm talking more about points and more podiums," added Mallya. "I am confident we can get this, so why not aim high?"
Both drivers are hoping that improvements can be made with the new double diffusers, which will only be used for one season, thanks to the 2011 ban. In addition, the previous year's car had a lot of low drag, which had a huge amount of success at high speed tracks like Spa and Monza.
"It is the first time that we have been on schedule." said Sutil. "This will be the first season where we can show right from the beginning what is possible with the car and what it really can do."
Liuzzi himself took over the race role last year after former teammate and fellow Italian Giancarlo Fisichella was loaned to Ferrari after his second place finish in the Belgium Grand Prix. But Liuzzi himself feels that that the testing role he did last season, has assisted his chances to improve to be a better racer.
"After one and a half years in a test role, I feel really prepared both physically and mentally for a full race season. For sure scoring points as many times as I can is going to be the key, and you never know, perhaps we can get something more as well if everything comes together," commented Liuzzi.
The new car will begin testing tomorrow and Liuzzi will begin driving until day three when Sutil takes over. Di Resta will finish things off on the 17th of February at this same circuit.