The Force India F1 team has confirmed its new VJM08 challenger will have, at the most, three days of pre-season running before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in just over two weeks’ time.
The Silverstone squad gave the media and fans a first look at its 2015 design, releasing a computer-generated image of the Mercedes-powered car, which it will run for the first time at this week’s final pre-season test in Barcelona.
The team elected to skip the opening pre-season test at Jerez and appeared at the second at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with its 2014 car, fanning the rumour flames that the team is under significant debt pressure and was struggling to pay suppliers in order to complete the final design and build of its new car.
The team was forced to run Mercedes’ reserve driver, Pascal Wehrlein, for two days of the four-day test, suggesting the deal was to offset some of the debts it owes the German carmaker for the customer supply of its power units.
Chief Operating Officer Otmar Szafnauer confirmed that the new car will be ready, expressing hopes that the team may even manage some on-track running on Friday afternoon – Day 2 of the test – leaving it with just the Saturday and Sunday to get any reasonable pre-season mileage.
The team finished sixth in last year’s Constructors’ Championship standings, claiming a podium finish at the Bahrain Grand Prix. It will field an unchanged line-up of Sergio Pérez and Nico Hülkenberg in 2015.
Image via Sahara Force India F1