Force India has taken the covers off its 2012 challenger, dubbed the VJM05, at a chilly launch session at Silverstone today. The team hopes that the new car will propel it to fifth place in the 2012 Constructors’ Championship standings.
It is the first time since the team’s maiden season running under the Force India moniker (2008) that its new car has been ready ahead of the first pre-season test – traditionally, the team has delayed launching its new car until midway through the pre-season testing period.
The Mercedes-powered car – which will be raced by Paul di Resta and Nico Hülkenberg, and given Friday practice outings by Jules Bianchi – features a similar stepped ‘platypus’ nose to that shown on the Caterham CT01, the very first of the 2012 challenger to be launched in the pre-season.
But the team’s designers have taken it one step further, placing the nose-cone cameras right at the tip of the nose itself. While these give the impression of the car running what looks like a moustache, the placement also serves an aerodynamic benefit in providing extra downforce at the front of the car.
The VJM05 looks comparatively ‘cleaner’ in its aero profile than its predecessor, with its sidepods being nicely sculpted in particular. The rear of the car features a pullrod suspension layout, while the VJM05’s designers have also opted to do away with the split air intake that it ran on the VJM04 for the engine’s airbox.
“We have set our sights on challenging for fifth place [in the Constructors’ Championship],” explained Team Principal, Dr. Vijay Mallya.
“To do so we will need to begin the new campaign by delivering the kind of form we showed in the second half of 2011. I believe this is a realistic goal and that we have the talent and determination to realise these ambitions.”
“The car looks more refined; a lot racier and a lot more purposeful,” added Force India’s technical director, Andy Green.
“You can start to see the aerodynamic concepts coming through now. It looks quite a bit different to the previous years, and so far the performance in the tunnel has been encouraging.”
[Images via Force India Media, LAT, Sutton Images]