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F1 tech review: How budget crisis hampered Force India's chances

Force India has been punching above its weight from a technical point of view for a number of years, but a budgetary crisis – resulting in a mid-season ownership and name change – and the introduction of the halo had serious ramifications on its aspirations in 2018.

F1 tech review: How budget crisis hampered Force India's chances

Here, we decipher what exactly changed for the dual-identity constructor throughout the season in our pictorial review of its technical updates…

Force India VJM11 halo detail

Force India VJM11 halo detail
1/24

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Force India’s technical director Andy Green was keen to point out that the introduction of the halo couldn’t have come at a worse time for the team, as without it Force India would have surely carried over its 2017 chassis and reaped the development rewards elsewhere. However, the safety structures inclusion meant that was impossible and a new design was needed, siphoning off much of its limited resource and budget.

Racing Point Force India VJM11 steering wheel

Racing Point Force India VJM11 steering wheel
2/24

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

An overview of the VJM11’s steering wheel, the surfaces of which were made from carbonfibre during this season, rather than the 3D printed variations used in the past.

Racing Point Force India VJM11 rear detail

Racing Point Force India VJM11 rear detail
3/24

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

A good look at the VJM11’s rather tidy rear end, note how the lower wishbone shrouds also cover the driveshafts.

Racing Point Force India VJM11 front suspension detail

Racing Point Force India VJM11 front suspension detail
4/24

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

A look at the front brake assembly as the car is being put together, note the mental venting panel, used to alter the thermal relationship between the brakes when in use and the wheel rim which is in close proximity.

Racing Point Force India VJM11 mirror detail

Racing Point Force India VJM11 mirror detail
5/24

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The VJM11’s mirrors extended out from the top surface of the sidepod on these ‘stalks’ that also doubled as vortex generators; note that the cockpit arm was latterly deleted.

Force India VJM11 engine

Force India VJM11 engine
6/24

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

A good look inside the bowels of the car with the engine cover and sidepod bodywork left off gives us an insight into the way the car is packaged.

Sergio Perez, Force India VJM11

Sergio Perez, Force India VJM11
7/24

Photo by: Sutton Images

This top-down overview of the VJM11 at the pre-season test in Barcelona shows off the base configuration of the car.

Force India VJM11 floor detail

Force India VJM11 floor detail
8/24

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Seemingly struggling with the design of the sidepod bodywork in the opening phases of the season the team adopted this little winglet at their base for several races.

Force India VJM11 with aero paint on rear diffuser

Force India VJM11 with aero paint on rear diffuser
9/24

Photo by: Sutton Images

As it struggled to wrap its head around a few of the problems during the early phases of the season they opted to spray the diffuser with flo-viz in Azerbaijan, looking for any indications of aerodynamic issues.

Force India VJM11 front wing

Force India VJM11 front wing
10/24

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The team unveiled a new front wing design in Bahrain, but with only one available and other parts delayed they didn’t actually race it until Monaco. The main feature of the new wing was the rolled up main-plane profile where it met with the neutral section, designed to alter the vorticity created at the Y250 juncture.

Force India VJM11 new diffuser, China GP

Force India VJM11 new diffuser, China GP
11/24

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The team introduced a new, more complex, diffuser at the Chinese GP which included the crossover style tab in the gurney section that has become popular up and down the grid.

Force India VJM11 detail

Force India VJM11 detail
12/24

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The team, like much of the field, adopted these longitudinal floor slots at the Spanish GP, with the intent of sealing off the floor's edge, aerodynamically speaking.

Force India VJM11 rear wing detail

Force India VJM11 rear wing detail
13/24
An interesting testing device was mounted to the rear wing at the in-season test at Barcelona, as the team looked to capture more data on the interaction between the exhaust and rear wing (note the temperature strips in the central portion of the device).

Force India VJM11 high downforce rear wing comparison

Force India VJM11 high downforce rear wing comparison
14/24

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Looking for more rear-end performance for the Hungarian GP the team adopted the same pair of twin element T-Wings used in Monaco.

Nicholas Latifi, Force India VJM11

Nicholas Latifi, Force India VJM11
15/24

Photo by: Joe Portlock / Motorsport Images

Force India were among a handful of teams to trial a 2019-style front wing during the season, complete with flo-viz paint in this example from the in-season test at Hungary.

Nicholas Latifi, Force India VJM11

Nicholas Latifi, Force India VJM11
16/24

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

They also looked to collect important information during the test regarding the wing’s impact on the flow field, installing a kiel probe array behind the front wheel.

Force India new bargeboard floor comparison

Force India new bargeboard floor comparison
17/24
The team had a large portfolio of new parts at its disposal in Singapore, as it showed the first signs of delivering on the cash injection. The new bargeboards featured a new overarching leading element (inset, right, for comparison), while the floor’s leading edge strake number was doubled, from three to six.

Force India VJM11 diffuser comparison

Force India VJM11 diffuser comparison
18/24

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

A comparison showing the new diffuser from Singapore, the red arrow highlighting the change in the crossover tab.

Force India VJM11 floor detail

Force India VJM11 floor detail
19/24

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The team revised its floor ahead of the rear wheel, slightly upturning the edge and adding a flap too (red arrow).

Racing Point Force India VJM11 with aero paint

Racing Point Force India VJM11 with aero paint
20/24

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

The VJM11 was sprayed with flo-viz paint in Singapore in order to check that track performance was in-line with the results shown in CFD and the windtunnel.

Racing Point Force India VJM11 bargeboards

Racing Point Force India VJM11 bargeboards
21/24

Photo by: Rubio / Motorsport Images

A nice overview of the bargeboard and floor region at the Japanese GP, note the six strakes on the floors leading edge and the plethora of serrated elements in the bargeboard’s footplates, which changed throughout the season.

Racing Point Force India VJM11 front wing detail

Racing Point Force India VJM11 front wing detail
22/24

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

A close-up of the front wing, a descendent of the newest specification that took almost the first quarter of the season to get onto the car. You’ll note how the main plane and flaps are torturously folded into a tunnel-like shape in the outboard section that helps to drive airflow out and across the front tyre.

Racing Point Force India VJM11 wing

Racing Point Force India VJM11 wing
23/24

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

The aforementioned ‘tunnel’ shot from behind.

Racing Point Force India VJM11

Racing Point Force India VJM11
24/24

Photo by: Manuel Goria / Motorsport Images

Retiring the VJM11 at the end of the season, along with that naming lineage, the team has since admitted that it missed a development step as their budget got stretched ever thinner during the middle of the season.
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Series Formula 1
Teams Racing Point Force India
Author Giorgio Piola
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