Photo: Sahara Force India Formula One Team

Force India Unveil F1 Challenger for 2018

By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief

Force India finally pulled back the covers of their car slated for the upcoming Formula One season – the VJM11.

The Silverstone-based outfit showed off the challenger prior to preseason testing in Barcelona, displaying a return of the pink, silver and white livery representative of a continued partnership with BWT.

Although F1 pilots Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon were on hand for the event, it is Nikita Mazepin who will give it an inauguration to the sport for testing. Ocon and Perez are set to take over tomorrow and Wednesday.

Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operation Officer of Force India, praised the livery concept.

“The VJM11 certainly looks eye-catching in its new livery,” said Szafnauer.

“We worked very closely with BWT to deliver an even stronger identity for the car this year and everybody is really happy with the result. The new shade of pink is very striking and really pops out.”

Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon were on hand to conduct car presentation duties giving the media and fans a chance to see the team’s 2018 challenger for the first time. Nikita Mazepin joined the race drivers for a photo call alongside Chief Operating Officer, Otmar Szafnauer, and Technical Director, Andrew Green.

Andrew Green, Technical Director of Force India, added this current car is merely a baseline to what will be developed by the time the season starts in Australia next month.

“The DNA of the car is still very much that of last year’s car,” said Green.

“We took the decision, quite a while ago, that the launch specification of the 2018 car would be based around our understanding of the 2017 car, but with all new structures required by the regulations in place. It is a starting point, a good reference from which to introduce changes quite quickly; it gives our aerodynamics department more time to develop a car for the first race in Australia, rather than having to release parts early for testing.”

The team is coming off two consecutive seasons of fourth in the constructor’s standings, and Team Principal Vijay Mallya believes there’s no reason to expect similar, or even greater success in 2018.

“I see no reason why we cannot consolidate our position and improve,” said Mallya.

“Yes, Formula One is a very tough and competitive environment, but we are an established team with continuity in all areas of the company. We don’t take anything for granted, but we will be disappointed if we are not fighting for points at every race this year.”

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Joey Barnes is the Founder of Motorsports Tribune. He has covered auto racing since 2013 that has spanned from Formula 1 to NASCAR, with coverage on IndyCar. Additionally, his work has appeared on Racer, and Autoweek magazine. In 2017, he was recognized with an award in Spot News Writing by the National Motorsports Press Association.