Force India launch the VJM06 - but reveal only one of their two drivers for 2013
Di Resta is finally confirmed - but no team-mate as yet
By Pete Gill and Mike Wise. Last Updated: February 5, 2013 9:09am
Force India have unveiled their 2013 challenger, the VJM06, in a launch ceremony broadcast live by Sky Sports News at Silverstone - but identified only one of their two drivers for the upcoming season.
With the team still not prepared to name their replacement for new Sauber recruit Nico Hulkenberg, it was left to Paul di Resta - now officially confirmed as the fourth Brit on the 2013 grid - to take the wraps off the team's new car with Deputy Team Principal Bob Fernley stepping into the breach alongside the Scot.
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Prior to the launch, it had been suggested that reserve driver Jules Bianchi was set to be named as Di Resta's team-mate but the wait goes on for the team to reveal their 2013 line-up in full.
"The shareholders are obviously thinking about where the drivers are going to be but our main objective today is to launch the car - and Paul is the key person for doing that. We don't want to confuse the two stories," Fernley said in explanation.
Fernley later said that there would be no announcement in time for next week's Jerez test but that the situation would be resolved for the second pre-season test in Barcelona, which begins on February 19.
Force India finished seventh in the Constructors' Championship last season, one place lower than the year before. Prior to the unveiling, di Resta outlined to Rachel Brookes the team's mission statement for 2013.
"We're looking forward to this year - we need to raise our game," the Scot said. "We need to be more consistent. But certainly we're going to work hard over the next two months to arrive in Melbourne and give ourselves the best opportunity going forwards to battle our rivals."
Fernley added: "We started off quite slowly last year and I'm hoping we don't do that this year. If you take the second half of the season, we were the fifth best performing team and I'd like to think we start where we finished. It's a difficult task to do but I'm sure we're capable of doing it."
Explaining the design and development of the VJM06, Force India Technical Director Andrew Green expressed the hope that the decision to halt work on its predecessor last summer has benefitted them.
"What that allowed us to do was have a stable platform for the last part of the season. And that gave us the opportunity to understand the car in a lot more detail, compare it to where we thought it should be and understand the differences between our wind tunnel model and various other models," he said.
"That really helped us understand where we should be focusing our attention on this year's car, where the performance gains would be.
"The car should be a lot more consistent and easy to drive. I'm looking forward to Jerez to see if it does what it says on the tin."
The car also sports a 'modesty panel' to cover the step in its nose, a notorious feature of the 2012 season. The anomaly was caused by a combination of new rules - introduced for safety reasons - to limit the height of noses and the desire of teams to drive airflow beneath a raised chassis to increase grip.
"Ours is purely performance driven, and the performance is not really on top of the chassis; it's what you can do underneath," Green said of the decision. "By pushing the chassis to its limits, it allows us to get the aero performance.
"Putting the panel on top cleans up the flow over the top of the chassis. It's a small thing but to us it's important."
Di Resta later took to a damp Silverstone track to give the VJM06 a shakedown.
"It's obviously very cold, it's not conditions you would normally experience. Today is just about giving the car a little bit of a preview of what it's going to encounter down in Jerez," he told Sky Sports News afterwards.
The 2013 car launches
Lotus - January 28th, Enstone.
McLaren - January 31st, Woking.
Force India - February 1st, Silverstone.
Ferrari - February 1st, Maranello.
Sauber - February 2nd, Hinwil.
Red Bull - February 3rd, Milton Keynes.
Mercedes - February 4th, Jerez.
Toro Rosso - February 4th, Jerez.
Caterham - February 5th, Jerez.
Marussia - February 5th, Jerez.
Williams - February 19th, Barcelona.