Formula One is a sport where standing still means getting left behind. That’s how fast paced the sport is, it all changes within the blink of an eye.
The SFI Formula One Team had some problems with its shift to the Toyota wind tunnel this year and some issues with part suppliers that led them to delay the actual development of their 2015 car. So the engineers at the Silverstone based factory decided to make up a toned down Launch car that just complied to the 2015 regulations with the plan of reaping the benefits of the new wind tunnel and the subsequent gain in performance a bit later in the season. Basically, introduce a B-Spec car, the proper 2015 race car.
With this Launch-spec car, Force India has managed to maintain fifth position in the constructors’ championship thanks to its Mercedes Power Train.
This B-Spec car was initially to be launched a bit sooner, but due to the delays in passing the various crash tests and the required manufacturing time, it got pushed back to the Silverstone Grand Prix.
The team has managed to finish some of the parts and updates of the B-Spec car which were used and evaluated at the last week’s Austrian in-season test.
The Front Wing and the Nostril Nose
“Red Bull gives you wings”, Force India probably took that quite literally as the new front wing has been termed by many as an inspiration direct from the RB11. This actually confirms the rumors that SFI had hired some important aerodynamicist from Red Bull Racing. It’s a much more complex version of the existing front wing. From a simpler five element front wing, the team has adopted a much more complex seven-eight element outwash front wing. This would aid airflow all over the car and offer cleaner flow to all the other aero-devices on the car.
The new Nostril Nose has been the hot topic of the week. Rumors up and down the pit lane regarding the legality of this nose are spreading like wildfire.
New rules were introduced this year to prevent the finger-like nose-tips of last year, and as result many teams have opted for a very short nose, which creates less of an obstruction to allow more airflow to reach the back of the car.
Force India’s car has so far sported a mid-length nose, somewhat easier to crash test, but suffering on the aerodynamic side. This new nose would appear to allow more airflow to pass along the car, via the nostrils, but it retains its length to better meet the FIA crash tests.
It’s really in the blindspot in regards to its legality but this could prove to be a masterstroke if it actually makes it on to the car in Silverstone. It will aid the diffuser, the T-tray area and increase rear downforce like anything. Everything would perform better with more air under the car and that is what this nose does.
Side Pods and Rear Packaging
Side pods and the engine cover panels are somewhat inspired by the new Toro Rosso cars and the Williams’ for that matter as well. It’s much neater, much more compact and complements the front and rear wing like a charm.
The new rear packaging or the “Coke Bottle” region is too tight in our opinion. If the McLaren is termed as a Size Zero, this may well be Size ‘-1’. We only hope there is enough cooling available for that Mercedes Updated Power Unit. A tight rear end would again mean major increase in rear downforce as a much cleaner flow would be generated at the rear. This would again work well with the new floor the team hopes to introduce later.
The new exhaust has striking resemblance with the exhaust sported on the Lotus E23. The new exhaust outlet sports a long tail pipe which extends out far more, so with this new design the air coming out of exhaust will be accelerated upwards even more, thus allowing the rear wing to generate more downforce.
Force India has really stepped up its game and on paper this car looks too good to be true. F1 is famous for throwing curve balls at the audience but this update has to prove its mettle on track than in a Wind tunnel or in a software.
In theory this car looks like top five material easy but let’s not get our hopes up just yet. Bob Fernley has announced that there are further parts that will be added to the B-Spec in Silverstone; a new floor and a modified monocoque among other things.
It’s safe to say we at Essentially Sports are thoroughly impressed with the amount of innovation going on at Sahara Force India. Let’s just hope there is actually a fire if we can see all this smoke.