Force India's new car on target for March debut

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Force India remain on target to get their new Mercedes-Benz powered car out on track for the final two pre-season tests before the Australian Grand Prix. The Silverstone-based team have been working flat out since the end of last season to get their new car adapted for their new engine supplier, as well as McLaren gearboxes.

And although the switch from Ferrari has forced them to make a late start to their 2009 efforts, Force India's technical director James Key says work is progressing well enough for them to make their debut as scheduled at Jerez in the first week of March.

"It's obviously very tight, because of what we've had to do," Key told his team's official website. "But the plan is to hit the last two official team tests before the season."

Key has said that work on parts of the car to make the switch from Ferrari to Mercedes-Benz were fairly straightforward, while other bits were more complicated.

"Some areas of the car matched very well with the new packaging requirements we had, while in other areas it was significantly different," he explained. "Effectively we have had to redesign quite a bit of the car, and starting in November, that's been quite a major undertaking."

He added: "I think it's just getting everything together. McLaren have been absolutely excellent, they understand that we've had a lot of work to do in a short time. They've been extremely supportive, very helpful. We've had a lot of meetings, and there are day-to-day discussions on the gearbox and all the associated parts such as the cooling.

"McLaren are a very big organisation, established for some time, Force India are on the smaller side and are up and coming. It's good to see where the common ground is and where fundamental differences lie in our thinking and operation.

"And equally Mercedes have been extremely accommodating. They have helped us out as much as they possibly can, so the relationships have started out in a very good way."

Source Force India