On the back of its livery launch in Mexico City, Sahara Force India Technical Director Andrew Green spoke about the challenges the team have faced developing the VJM08, and insisted the team had been working to refine the strong package it brought into the 2014 season with the VJM07 onto this years car.
“The challenges we had to face were very different compared to 2014,” admitted Green. “Obviously, last year we had a completely new power unit and technical regulations so there was a huge amount of work going into just getting the car to the first race. This year, our focus is mostly on refining and developing the package we had in 2014.
“We are looking forward to building on what we learnt in 2014 about the VJM07: we understood the car’s strengths and weaknesses and we aim to build on the former and fix the latter. This has been the goal for building the VJM08.”
Speaking about the changes the team have made to their car, Green said the most significant difference between the VJM07 and VJM08 was the frontal structure, with new FIA regulations mandating that the ugly-style wings from 2014 be outlawed for this season.
“The most significant changes from the outside are at the front of the car in order to conform to the new 2015 technical regulations,” said Green. “With the lowering of the front of the chassis and nose, the front of the car looks very different from what we had developed previously.
“It is a redesign that involved a lot of work over the winter, as the new regulations caused a loss in terms of downforce and we’ve been working to claw back all that performance. There are also some more subtle changes, like a modified sculpting of the sidepods and new cooling intakes.
“The differences are not just on the surface. Underneath the skin there is a completely new rear suspension layout with a new hydro-mechanical system replacing the original torsion springs. This will allow us to explore new set-up configurations for the rear of the car and will allow set up changes to be made much more quickly in the garage. Put simply it is another tool for our engineers to use trackside during race weekends.”
Green believes the planned move to use the Toyota wind tunnel in Cologne rather than its own in Brackley will benefit the team, especially with the tunnel enabling the team run 60% models rather than the 50% they were before. He also pinpoints that improvements in the teams’ simulator system will be beneficial to the long-term ambitions of the team.
“Working solely in the TMG wind tunnel will help our development significantly: having the ability to run 60% models will represent a significant step forward in fidelity of the data we receive and will in turn improve our correlation between the wind tunnel results and the on-track car data,” said Green. “The model itself has a significant increase in aerodynamic loading and it’s a challenge designing and building a new model in a very short time frame.
“We are very much looking forward to our starting to use the new facilities in January. For this reason we have delayed the track testing of the VJM08 until the Barcelona test.
“The tunnel, however, is not the only course we are taking to improve our performance. We are also looking to step up our simulator programme in order to deliver a ‘state of the art’ tool that will help us develop more in the virtual world and allow us to explore new directions and developments.
“The combination of the new wind tunnel and simulator will also be aided by the ramping up of our CFD capabilities; we are now operating with 30 teraflops of computing power – a massive change compared to the 0.3 teraflops we had five years ago. We expect the fruits of this investment to start feeding into the development of the car throughout the 2015 season and beyond.”