Force India became the latest team to unveil its 2010 challenger, after releasing images of its new VJM03 on Tuesday morning. The car features the high nose and the shark-fin engine cover that has become typical of this year's designs.
Following the significant progress made by the team in 2009, as it captured its first pole position and podium finish, Force India is looking for more success this year. The new car will be tested for the first time at this week's Jerez test and its design chiefs are confident it will be a match for the machinery that has already been unveiled.
The VJM03 may be mostly an evolution of last year's design, but the team has made big strides with its double diffuser concept. Mark Smith, its design director, said fully optimizing the double diffuser was one of the key areas for improvement that the team focused on over the winter.
"[The car is] a natural progression in areas which seemed to have strong trends at the end of 2009, and in other areas it's quite different," he said. "The back of the car is the area that has evolved most as everyone has had a year of experience with the double diffusers so we've all gone into 2010 much wiser as to what we can do. There have been some refinements in that area and it's formed part of the make-up of the car this time around, rather than being added very quickly, as happened at the beginning of last year.
"It's natural now to design the car to take these devices. The gearbox is now a little bit easier to work around, and there are tweaks to make the diffuser potential bigger. So, there are some notable differences."
Force India has also vowed to reconsider its use of the adjustable front wing flap, which it abandoned in the middle of last year.
"I think it's potentially more important [this year]," explained Smith. "No one really spoke about it much in the paddock last year, we didn't get the impression it was a big boost for the drivers, so we were happy to do without it. But, given that you've got the scenario where you've got to manage the car in a race now, it's a good thing to have if you can. So, we're making efforts to 'future proof' it this year."
Despite his optimism about the car, Smith is refusing to predict exactly how much the team's efforts will pay off in terms of results this year.
"We will only be in a position to answer that question once we have the first race under our belts," he said. "The development rates in Formula 1 were very high last year and this has largely been maintained over the winter design period.
"How this will manifest itself in relative terms between the teams remains to be seen."