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VJM08 to make debut on Friday

NEWS STORY
25/02/2015

As his team offers first glimpse of its 2015 contender, Force India's COO Otmar Szafnauer reveals the car will make track debut on Friday.

"The VJM08 will arrive in Barcelona on Friday morning and the final set up will take place in the garage at the track," he said. "We are aiming to get out on Friday and the new car will run as much as possible over the weekend."

Referring to the car's build process, he added: "It has progressed well over the last few days and has now been fired up at the factory. That's always the key moment when the car truly comes to life.

"We have seen a tremendous effort from every department over the last few months to get us to this stage and we're looking forward to seeing the car take to the track later this week."

The last team - other than Manor (and please don't go there) - to launch, Force India has been the subject of intense internet speculation in recent weeks.

Whilst the team insisted that the delay to its car was partly the result of loss of windtunnel time caused by the problems facing Manor and Caterham, online speculation centred on the Silverstone-based outfit's alleged financial situation, which led to issues with suppliers, something strongly denied by the team.

Having missed Jerez, the team made its first appearance of 2015 - other than the livery launch in Mexico City - at Barcelona, where it ran the 2014 car.

"It was a straightforward and productive week," said Szafnauer, "with the primary focus to learn about the 2015 tyres. Because we know the 2014 car so well, we could focus purely on tyre evaluation on a range of different fuel loads. We used every dry compound that was available last week and all of that information will be transferrable to our 2015 programme."

Other than regular drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, the Silverstone-based outfit ran Mercedes test and reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein, though he was called back to the Brackley outfit when Lewis Hamilton suffered a fever.

"Everyone was impressed with Pascal," said Szafnauer. "He took a very mature approach to the test and didn't put a foot wrong. It's always interesting to receive feedback from a new driver and Pascal was very detailed and accurate with his feedback. Running him alongside our race drivers provided a nice yardstick for data comparisons."

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