“When the VJM08 appeared in Barcelona it ran reliably from the very first moment and didn’t miss a beat during its 365 laps. To deliver such a solid performance out of the box was a fantastic achievement from everyone in the team and will stand us in good stead for the first race” – Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal
Financial trouble delayed Force India’s first two pre-season tests and that time they managed with 2014 VJM07. But finally the Silverstone based squad proved remarkable reliability when VJM08 touch with Barcelona track on the final two days of testing. VJM08 quickly completed 1,699km without any trouble.
“The first race of the season is always a special occasion: a race you really look forward to for a long time. You have a new car to push to the limit in race conditions for the first time, you are often working with new people in the team and it’s the first occasion to spend a race weekend with them: there is always a lot to keep you excited in addition to the regular weekend activities. As a driver, the first race is very interesting – we are as curious as anybody to see where everyone really is compared to the others.
“I haven’t been very lucky in Melbourne in the past, but I have very good memories from last year’s race. We finished sixth in our first race with the VJM07 – and considering that I had never managed to finish more than one lap in Australia until then, that was a quite welcome development! It was a very good race and I hope we can have another one this year.”
“The Australian Grand Prix is one of my favourite races because it’s one of those events in which everything comes together: the excitement of a new season, a great track and a fantastic city.
“Albert Park is a special circuit and it’s great to get back to action on such a challenging track. Even though it is classified as a street circuit, it doesn’t really feel like one – there are only a few corners in which you get close to the walls. Driving on it, it feels like a permanent track, although if you make a mistake you realise pretty quickly how close the walls really are!
“There are many difficult corners and it is not easy to get a perfect lap here: turn one, in particular, is very technical and difficult also because you can’t really see the apex. It is a great feeling to get that corner right. In terms of set-up, you are mostly looking for front end grip and it is not easy to find the right balance for the car.
“Melbourne is the place where I had my first Formula One race. That’s a great memory that will stay with me forever. It’s my best memory from Melbourne so far, but I hope to refresh it with some new memories soon!”
Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal
“It’s great to get back to the racing. Melbourne in March is the perfect place to begin the season and one of my favourite cities. It’s also where the Force India story began eight years ago when we lined up on the starting grid of Albert Park for the very first time. Eight years and 131 races later, I feel very proud of the journey we’ve taken to establish our position in Formula One.
“We started our 2015 season in Mexico City six weeks ago when we launched our stunning new livery. I always thought the new colours would appeal to fans and I was very happy to see the VJM08 topping some polls on social media as the best looking car. The fans have spoken and they clearly have good taste!
“It’s no secret that we have faced some delays and challenges over the winter, but we’ve put that behind us and can now focus on the racing. When the VJM08 appeared in Barcelona it ran reliably from the very first moment and didn’t miss a beat during its 365 laps. To deliver such a solid performance out of the box was a fantastic achievement from everyone in the team and will stand us in good stead for the first race.
“As for our hopes in Melbourne, it’s difficult to make a prediction. In terms of mileage we are clearly behind the other teams so there is some ground to make up. Equally, the performance work we could do in Barcelona was quite limited. Until we run in qualifying trim and race conditions it’s hard to know where we are in terms of competitiveness. What I do know is that we will give it our best shot to come away with a result.”