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Sahara Force India's Technical Director, Andy Green, talks about the team's 2013 contender, which is "brand new car from the ground-up".
Can you elaborate on the key factors behind the development of the VJM06?Obviously the regulations are reasonably stable from last year to this year and the ban on the double DRS didn't affect us, so the transition has been more straightforward than in previous years. Last year we basically stopped bringing developments to the track just after the middle of the season so the trackside guys had a chance to understand what they had, rather than it changing every race, which is what had been happening up to that point. When you have a platform that is stable you can refine it and really dial it in. We focused on trying to understand what the car was doing, where it differed from our models and, importantly, how we worked the tyres. We used that extra knowledge for this year's car and it helped quite a lot.
Looking at the strong performance in the last few races, did that philosophy work?We think it did. We literally didn't touch the car for the last third of the season and we were finding performance in what we had rather than just assuming that the next aero upgrade would add performance.
How different is the VJM06 compared to its predecessor?It's a brand new car from the ground-up - everything is new. We discussed carrying over big chunks of last year's car, including the chassis, but decided not to. There were still some gains to be had with the chassis, so we elected to take the performance benefits. However, the car is evolution rather than revolution compared with last year, simply because of the nature of the regulations.
Visually what are the major changes?The biggest thing that everybody's going to notice this year is the fairing on top of the nose to hide the 'step'. It's neutral as far as the car's performance is concerned but tidies up the flow over the top of the chassis, so it's a small thing really.
What about under the skin?There are quite a few large changes under the skin. Because we focussed a lot on the tyres last year, we've given ourselves a few more options on set-up to help manage them from qualifying to the race. So that's something we will focus on going into winter testing - we'll be looking at those options and trying to understand them. It's going to be a challenge assessing these during the cold winter tests, but those options will give the engineers more weapons in their armoury. The suspension has been tuned for what we learned on the tyres, so the configuration is different to last year with changes aimed at better complementing the tyres. The rear suspension is quite different - for aerodynamic reasons the whole thing has been lifted up to allow the airflow under the lower rear wishbones.
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