We were not the quickest team on any of the four days, but the lap times mean absolutely nothing at this stage, particularly this season with new engines (or power trains, to give them their technical term). It speaks volumes that some cars were running over-weight and that some cars would have been illegal if it had been a race situation. Additionally, no team reached maximum revs at any point during the test and some lap times were actually slower than a GP2 car can manage around Jerez. These facts show just how little the teams cared about pace in Spain. The main objective of the test was putting miles on the car and performing systems checks. With that in mind, let's take a look at some data from the running at Jerez:
Jerez test mileage:
Mercedes (309, 1368 km)
Ferrari (251, 1111 km)
McLaren (245, 1084 km)
Williams (175, 774 km)
Sauber (163, 721 km)
Force India (146, 646 km)
Caterham (76, 336 km)
Toro Rosso (54, 239 km)
Marussia (30, 132 km)
Red Bull (21, 92 km)
Force India covered 9.9% of the total mileage during this test. Given that only ten teams attended the test, you would expect all teams to do 10% of the running, so we're pretty much slap bang in the middle of the pack. This essentially means we had an average test in terms of mileage in comparison to other teams.
Mercedes (875, 3874 km)
Ferrari (444, 1966 km)
Renault (151, 668 km)
2014 will be an engine formula, by that we mean race results will be mostly determined by engine performance rather than the aerodynamics that we have seen in recent years. The most conclusive data from the Jerez test was that the Mercedes engine did the most mileage, and was the most reliable - by a considerable margin too. That bodes well for the Mercedes powered teams: Mercedes, McLaren, Williams - and of course - Force India.
Having recently completed a degree in Mechanical Engineering which focussed heavily on aerodynamics I can give some insight into the car though which you may find interesting. Other websites do analysis like this also, but they often make very sweeping statements such as "the front wing is clearly very aerodynamically efficient" which I have never understood .. this is Formula One, every part of every car is at the top end of aerodynamic efficiency .. so I will just stick to the facts.
Take a look at the section I have circled in red. That piece of the front wing, just ahead of the front left tyre, is curved. This is to divert airflow away from the tyres and reduce drag. As the tyres on a Formula One car have a large surface area they are responsible for a huge proportion of total drag on the car. Drag is a nightmare for the aerodynamicists as it is essentially a form of resistance on the car, reducing top speed and increasing fuel consumption. This solution of a curved section at the tail end of the front wing is not a new one - however Force India have curved that area considerably more compared to most teams. The issue with this is where that air actually ends up, if it curves away from the front left tyre and hits the rear left tyre then there would have been no point. Clearly this means Force India have found a way of diverting the air past the rear left tyre OR found a way to divert the air into the "magic gap" - more on that below.
Overall the front wing is fairly advanced, but I would say there is certainly a lot of development potential here, so expect to see many changes during the season to this section of the car.
It could be separating airflow for cooling purposes, for example, the airbox taking air to cool the engine and the other hole taking air to cool the gearbox for instance. On the other hand, perhaps it is some sort of sneaky and clever double-DRS device. Or perhaps it is both. Or maybe even something else! Without seeing under the bodywork it is impossible to tell - however it is nice to see that there are some innovative ideas that have gone into the development of the VJM07.
I hope this article has given you some insight into the VJM07 and Force India in 2014. If there is anything else on the car you want explaining, feel free to leave a comment here or on facebook and I will do my best to answer any questions.
Thanks for reading,