Force India VJM04 Mercedes
The VJM04 was launched online on 8 February 2011 and is the first car of Force India designed and build under the helm of Andrew Green. The team's technical directory rejoined the team the year before as engineering director after spells at Jordan, BAR and Red Bull Racing.
For the third year, the Force India car is powered by a Mercedes engine and McLaren gearbox, while the team are also exploiting KERS supplied by Mercedes. As such, FI have little to do about powertrain design themselves, but there are important other areas of change in the VJM04.
The team's new technical director found that the aerodynamic engineering needed repositioning as the Force India cars of recent years had always suffered on high downforce tracks. At the time the team arrived in Melbourne, that transition was still ongoing, so the team expected a sluggish start of the season.
The team focused over the winter to recover some of the lost downforce due to the removal of the double diffuser - as it was banned. This lead to tweaks and a change in the exhaust system, a major area of development in 2011.
Apart from that, the nose changed slightly but still is clearly a Force India design. The bulge on the lower side of the nose is a design feature typical for the team to negate the lift generated by the central part of the front wing.
The sidepods have been reshaped as well, along with the rear suspension which is now actuated through a pull rod, rather than the previously common push rod. The airbox design was modified to feature a blade rollhoop design, replacing the traditional airbox above the driver's helmet. Andrew Green explained the design decision: “From the outside the biggest change you’ll is a move to a ‘blade’ roll hoop. It just gave us a small packaging advantage, we felt, so we went down that route.”
Chassis: Carbon fibre composite monocoque with Zylon legality side anti-intrusion panels.
Wheel base: 3500mm
Gearbox: McLaren-moulded carbon-fibre composite. Integral rear impact structure. Seven forward and one reverse gear.
Designation: Mercedes-Benz FO 108Y
Photo (c) Sutton, Force India F1
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