Force India has confirmed it won’t launch its 2011 championship challenger until the second pre-season test session in mid-February at Jerez, meaning that the outfit will use its 2010 challenger at the first test session at Valencia’s Ricardo Torno circuit on 1 February.
While the majority of teams will use the lead-up to the first test session to unveil their new cars, Force India will join Virgin Racing and Hispania Racing in delaying the debuts of their respective 2011 cars.
Most teams prefer to get their new cars up and running as quickly as possible in pre-season testing to give them as much opportunity to iron out any bugs and get a better understanding of how their new cars will work with the new-for-2011 Pirelli tyres, which the teams have had limited running on during the off-season.
”We’ve carefully considered our plans for the start of the season and the introduction of the new Force India, the VJM04,” claimed Force India’s Otmar Szafnauer.
“The team will participate in all four pre-season tests and we will use the VJM03 for the first test in Valencia before the VJM04 makes its test debut in Jerez the following week.”
Szafnauer believes that by bucking the trend of not launching their car early, Force India might actually gain a competitive advantage in doing so – a tactic similarly demonstrated with great effect by Red Bull Racing, which has delayed the launch of its new car until later in pre-season testing.
“Starting a test later with the new car gives us a couple of weeks more wind tunnel time when we are at our most productive to get the parts released for the new car,” he added.
“"There is always a trade-off between running the car early and getting increased information for the aero department and we believe it will work to our advantage, given our size and resources.”
The team has been at the centre of much recent news over the speculation of its 2011 driver line-up, with speculation mounting that the team will look to break its contract with Vitantonio Liuzzi in order to promote its test driver, Paul di Resta, into a race seat alongside with incumbent Adrian Sutil.
The Jerez test kicks off on 10 February and runs for four days.
[Original image via LAT]