Well that was a bit of a surprise early on a Wednesday morning, with Force India deciding to get out for an early installation lap and show us a side on view of their 2014 challenger.
Force India find themselves with an all new driver lineup for 2014 with Nico Hulkenberg making his return to the fold, joined by Sergio Perez following his departure from McLaren. Having abandoned development fairly early on into 2013 to concentrate their efforts on the VJM07 the latter part of last season was perhaps unrepresentative of the teams performance. They also found themselves on the back foot when Pirelli were forced to return to the 2012 construction with the team having extracted performance early on that saw them ahead of McLaren.
As I have discussed on numerous occasions on both the blog and social media the design demands for 2014 are significant in terms of both aerodynamics and powertrain and so it was no surprise they sacrificed 2013 for a run at 2014. In terms of design however I long held the belief that for 2014 it may be pertinent to be the tortoise rather than the hare, as chasing extremely fine margins could be the difference between getting points or not finishing.
I only have the side on image to work with at present but with the first day of testing at Jerez only 6 days away you won't have to wait long for the rest of my analysis.
So what can we tell from the image?
However what we can tell is that the nose in this image may be akin to the anteater style we have seen proliferate many of the 2014 sketches presented thus far. The rapid ascent of the lower section of the nose allows room for the airflow to rush into and is sped up by the shaping of the elongated pylons which seemingly taper in then out, like a venturi.
The splitter on the VJM07 looks remarkably like it's predecessor with the team opting not to utilise a metal/carbon stay.
The Sidepod itself features a rather aggressive undercut at the front, enabling airflow to pass undeterred around the Sidepod toward the rear of the car. The Sidepod appears to be high sided with a centralised scallop in order to keep the airflow retained within the region whilst the rear of the Sidepod allows the slower moving warm airflow from inside to escape in line with the gearbox akin to the arrangement used by Ferrari and Toro Rosso on their 2012 challengers initially.
It really goes without saying that I will of course update this article as soon as more images become available of the VJM07 in order to better analyze the merits of this years challenger as we are still unsure of the exact design implemented at the Nose, the Turning Vanes designs and most importantly how the team have handled the changes at the Rear Wing, Exhaust exit, Monkey Seat / Rear Wing Support Pylons and Diffuser.