Force India’s Tom McCullough Full of Praise for VJM11’s ‘Remarkable’ Reliability


Esteban Ocon drives his Force India car on the final day of pre-season testing in front of Fernando Alonso
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Tom McCullough, Chief Race Engineer at Sahara Force India F1 Team, praised the new VJM11’s reliability following the conclusion of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya yesterday.

Force India’s car made it through the two-week testing period with no major issues, providing the team with invaluable data that the team can use ahead of their first race of the season in Australia at the end of March.

McCullough said that yesterday’s track conditions were among the best they’ve had, and that the team are already working on their race weekend procedures.

“We were able to sign off pre-season testing with another productive day,” said McCullough.  “Our programme was very similar to what we did yesterday, making sure we completed all our test items and reviewing all race weekend procedures with Esteban.

“The track conditions were possibly the best we’ve had over the last two weeks, so the significant amount of data we gathered will be very useful to our engineers.”

Though reliability wasn’t an issue for Force India last year – the team failed to finish just two times in twenty races, putting them second for reliability behind Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport‘s one – McCullough reflected on the pre-season testing period by saying that the team’s ability to run without significant issues is ‘a remarkable achievement’.

“We can look back at these two weeks feeling pretty satisfied,” admitted McCullough.  “Despite the time lost because of the weather last week, we were able to complete our ambitious programme and made good progress in understanding the VJM11.

“The reliability of our car was one of the highlights of testing: we were able to run solidly without any significant issues and, for a new car, this is a remarkable achievement. The whole team did a great job and we can now switch our focus to Melbourne.”