Force India VJM07 technical analysis

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Technical Director Andrew Green has again produced a neat looking Force India, appearing a bit more fierce thanks to its darker livery and a somewhat unpleasantly long anteater nose.

Seemingly more than on any other 2014 car, the nose is as close as possible to last year's high nose, except for a long extension to meet the nose height regulations. This creates 2 channels on each side of the extension, delimited by the long front wing supports. At Jerez these supports were still fairly simple but the team obviously have lot of development potential here.

The team has distinctively also chosen to have its monocoque at the maximum allowed height. The new regulations however mandate a 75mm lower front of the chassis. While the team have hidden this reduced height at the front with a vanity panel - just ahead of the pushrod connection point, the underside of the chassis clearly shows this curve. It's a hindrance of the lower airflow, but clearly it was still worth it having the chassis designed like this. Other teams however come to a different conclusion. Interestingly, the vanity panel is bonded on the monocoque and does not seem to be a separate panel, as is the case on the Mercedes AMG F1 W05 - where it's probably detachable to enable easier access to the suspension components.

Despite this chassis difference, the VJM07 still have a nearly identical front suspension to the VJM06. The pickup points of all suspension elements remains the same and only the front lower wishbone is nose more firmly connected on the side of the chassis, contrary to being very marginally at the bottom corner of the previously higher monocoque.

More to the back, the VJM07 also has nicely packaged sidepods with a very narrow coke bottle effect behind the widest part. The trade-off here is clearly the lack of undercut on the sidepod and fairly wide shoulders on the car on each side behind the driver's helmet.

Above the driver's head meanwhile is a marginally modified airbox, but due to the increased cooling requirements, the team added a second inlet behind the main inlet, similar to what Ferrari had on its Ferrari F138. Turbo cooling or an additional intercooler positions on the centreline on the car look to be the likely targets of this air.

Cooling air coming from this second inlet, as well as from the sidepods is all exited fairly close to the centreline of the car, enabling for clean air to flow onto and above the diffuser. The cooling outlets certainly are not the smallest of any car, but at least it has allowed the team to get going, possibly narrowing down the rear as development progresses.

Looking from the rear, it's also clear that the new rear wing is supported by two pylons shaped around the central exhaust pipe, just ahead of a monkey seat which is coated by thermohold goldfoil to protect the carbon fibre from the hot exhaust gases. Each rear wing endplate is meanwhile also connected to the car's floor with a small aerodynamically shaped profile, seen also on other cars.

The rear suspension is a design similar to what was frequently seen in 2013 with the upper wishbones connecting through an elbow-like joint on an extended upright. The lower wishbone, track rod and drive shaft are integrated in a single aerodynamic fairing to reduce drag. This is a prime example of a suspension layout that would make it difficult for the team to simply copy McLaren's butterfly suspension if those would prove worthwhile.

Finally, the diffuser maximises the allowed area of the diffuser, reaching from left to right without any reducttion in height. At the outer extremeties, outward of the outermost fence, the diffuser has its sides slightly open, similar to what Red Bull racing have started doing during 2013 to further enhance expansion in the diffuser, in particular outward, into the wake of the rear tyres. Over its entire with, an extra winglet is added, common already in 2013.

Even though the car already features a very advanced front wing that was clearly engineered to manage airflow around the front wheels, development is expected to come in soon, with the team also saying that the current nose is just a development version to go testing while a new design is being prepared "that could look considerably different". As with most cars, lots of changes can be expected by Bahrain, but all in all this car appears to be another clean and straight forward design, even though it proved to be far from reliable at the initial test at Jerez.