The Sahara Force India F1 Team has unveiled the revamped livery scheme it will run for the 2015 Formula 1 season at a launch ceremony in Mexico.
The new look and the decision to launch it in Latin America is a direct nod to the Silverstone team’s increasing investment from Mexican sponsors thanks to the presence of Sergio Pérez as Nico Hülkenberg’s teammate in a line-up which remains unchanged from 2014. The team finished sixth overall in last year’s Constructors’ Championship standings in another year where it punched well above its weight compared to its substantially better-funded rivals; the highlight of the season was Pérez’s podium finish at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Pérez’s improved performances following a poor single season spent at McLaren – coupled with the long-awaited return of the Mexican Grand Prix to this year’s championship calendar – have made the team an attractive proposition for Mexican sponsors.
The new car will sport a predominantly silver a black livery scheme – perhaps as a nod to engine partner Mercedes – with the Indian saffron orange stripe running front-to-rear.
The car features sponsorship from NEC (which has traditionally backed the Mexican drivers thanks to a B2B deal with the Slim Family’s telecommunications giant América Móvil, which has backed Pérez’s motorsport career for many years). The América Móvil brands, Claro and Telcel, also have substantial space on the car as does tequila brand Jose Cuervo, insurance firm Inter and the oil brand Quaker State.
The team will continue to have backing from Diageo brand Smirnoff, although it appears to be a lesser-value deal, judging by the space involved. United Spirits, Kingfisher and Royal Challenge remain on the car, despite the fact that Force India team owner Vijay Mallya has lost control of those companies.
While the car displayed at the ceremony showcased a number of 2015 F1 cars’ design characteristics, it wasn’t the new VJM08. Technical Director Andrew Green has confirmed that the VJM08 will not be ready in time for the first pre-season test at Jerez on February 1-4, but will run in the second in Barcelona. The decision to delay will give the team more time to develop a new rear suspension layout with a new hydro-mechanical system replacing the original torsion springs. The car’s font end will also undergo further development.
Images via XPB Images