Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

Tech analysis: The update that enabled Force India's podium challenge

Force India has continued development of the VJM10 throughout 2017, as it knows that with relatively stable regulations for next year, anything learned now can be carried over to next season.

For the Mexican GP it handed its latest upgrade package to the local hero Sergio Perez, as the Mexican was tasked with evaluating the parts during Friday's first practice session before Esteban Ocon joined in and applied the upgrade for FP2.


Force India VJM10 bargeboard, Mexican GP
Force India VJM10 bargeboard, Mexican GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The bargeboards, which have already been optimised several times this season (Russia and Canada), continue to follow a similar path to their predecessors, with further refinements made to the leading edge radius of each section (red arrow).

The serrated footplates added as part of the Canadian GP update have been retained (green arrow), however, the pre-bargeboard has been revised significantly, with the rearward point forming the floor's axehead and a declined scythe shaping used, rather than the flat surface its predecessor employed (blue arrow).

The installation of this coincides with the introduction of a new sidepod deflector (white arrow), which unlike the ones we've seen on other challengers thus far, is a single vertical element, albeit sculpted to influence the airflow and tyre wake in a very specific way.

Its position means that the designers have also been able to do away with the last section of the bargeboard (white arrow, inset), as it impedes the flow it previously would have dealt with.

The deflector is also supported by a small metal rod, affixed to the sidepod in order that it doesn't move around too much and cause its own turbulence.


Force India VJM10, Mercedes W08 and Red Bull RB13 floor design, Mexican GP
Force India VJM10, Mercedes W08 and Red Bull RB13 floor design, Mexican GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

This year's regulations have been met with varied solutions, but one area where all of the teams seem to have taken advantage is the floor's leading edge curvature, with a more aggressive approach allowing the designers to get more air underneath.

Typically, Mercedes saw this as an opportunity to add a further layer of complexity and control, with three vertical strakes placed on the floor's leading edge, convening the airflow passed onward to it, breaking up any erroneous turbulence that may have made its way past the plethora of devices ahead and commencing a series of new vortices that will power the performance of the floor and diffuser.

Red Bull introduced a similar solution in Hungary, meaning it was just a matter of time before someone else saw fit to exploit the advantage.

Having said that, the solution introduced by Force India wasn't actually raced, as the team returned to its previous specification floor, choosing just the bargeboard and deflector upgrade. We'll likely see it tried again in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, as the team continues to make decisions on the development of the VJM11.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Teams Force India
Article type Analysis
Topic Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis