More delays for VJM08 but Force India insist Melbourne presence

The Sahara Force India team have revealed they are unlikely to bring their 2015 VJM08 car to the second pre-season test in Barcelona that begins on February 19, with the third and final test at the same circuit on February 26 now the target for the new car’s debut.

The team, who opted to miss the Jerez test this week, have insisted they will be in Barcelona for the second test, although with their VJM07 so they can gather data regarding the 2015 Pirelli tyres.

Despite the team being behind schedule, Deputy Team Principal Bob Fernley insists they will be ready to race when the Formula 1 season begins in Australia in March.

“We will be in Melbourne for the start of the season, there’s no doubt about that,” said Fernley to Autosport. “Yes, testing time with the new car will have been limited, but we are doing everything possible to make sure we arrive in Australia in reasonable shape and with as many miles on the car as possible.

“Given the workload and timescales involved, it’s now looking more difficult to make the first Barcelona test. Everybody is pushing to try to make it happen, but it’s far more likely the VJM08 will run at the final Barcelona test at the end of February.

“That means we will use the 2014 car at the next test. The mileage on the VJM07 will still allow us to run with the 2015 Pirelli compounds.”

The team launched their new livery in a ceremony in Mexico, overseen by their race drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez.