Force India on schedule with new car

jForce India are confident that their new car will be ready for a pre-season shakedown at the final two tests of the year in Spain before the Australian Grand Prix at the end of March.

Having ended their engine deal with Ferrari late last year, Force India are now in a race against time to adapt their 2009 car for their new engine suppliers, Mercedes-Benz, as well as a new gearbox unit from McLaren.

However, Force India’s Technical Director James Key is confident that the team will have the car finished in time for a pre-season shakedown in Jerez at the beginning of March.

“It’s obviously very tight, because of what we’ve had to do,” Key said. “But the plan is to hit the last two official team tests before the season.”

Key has said that work on parts of the car to make the switch from Ferrari to Mercedes-Benz were fairly straightforward, while other bits were more complicated.

“Some areas of the car matched very well with the new packaging requirements we had, while in other areas it was significantly different,” he explained. “Effectively we have had to redesign quite a bit of the car, and starting in November, that’s been quite a major undertaking.”

“I think it’s just getting everything together. McLaren have been absolutely excellent, they understand that we’ve had a lot of work to do in a short time. They’ve been extremely supportive, very helpful. We’ve had a lot of meetings, and there are day-to-day discussions on the gearbox and all the associated parts such as the cooling.

“McLaren are a very big organisation, established for some time, Force India are on the smaller side and are up and coming. It’s good to see where the common ground is and where fundamental differences lie in our thinking and operation.

“And equally Mercedes have been extremely accommodating. They have helped us out as much as they possibly can, so the relationships have started out in a very good way.”