Force India VJM03: Initial observations.

Entering their second year with McLarenMercedes rear end, Force India have continued to focus their efforts solely on the chassis. The results of this w`ere apparent after last years car was able to set the pace at several races. With the new car some of the more anachronistic features of the VJM02 have been altered for more conventional designs, largely noticable with the raised chassisnose and sidepods. While these elements may even look conservative, their treatment of the diffuser is clearly a unique interpretation of the rules.

Perhaps the only team to have a lower nose than their 2009 design, the car sports a more bulbous flatter nose than that of their previous car. With a clean zero keel set up to the front of the raised chassis, the two bulges on the top of the chassis are not an attempt at a “V” nose, simply clearance for the rockers operating the springsdampers inisde the chassis. As with last year the steering rack is mounted midway twixt the upper and lower wishbones. Below the raised chassis, the car retains the front wing and small bargeboards fitted to a “T” piece, both seen on the 09 car.

Unusually the sidepod entries are low and the top edge of the sidepod rounded, but below a typical shape of undercut is used. Present on the launch car were two serated fins mounted in place of the mirrors and the mirrors themselves joined to the pod wings. Again, the roll structure is undercut, now using four pillars to provide the rollover protection. With the space behind this used Williams-style to feed ducts leading to an oil cooler, saving space within the sidepods. As with the cars format late year, the engine cover sports small shark fin affixed to the rear wing.

Even if the full diffuser cannot be seen clearly, the launch version can be seen to be a narrow set up, making the most of the permitted bodywork height. Normally teams bend the rear impact structure to avoid obstructing the diffuser and beam wing. Force India appears to have done the opposite, by placing the structure low and passing inside the upper deck of the diffuser. Thus the diffuser can rise up above the space normally taken by the structure.

This creates a narrow, but very tall, steep diffuser. Which is a valid alternative way to gain a higher expansion of the airflow, just as making the diffuser longer or wider. In achieving this layout, the lower beam wing is now split in two with its centre missing. The gap spans the exit of the upper deck of the diffuser, a small endplate on the inner tip of the beam wing probably creates a vortex to help draw more flow through the upper deck. Without the beam wing connecting the endplates to the rear end, the rear wing relies on just a single mouting pillar for support. one curious element appears to be the placement of the rear toe link,┬ánormally this sits behind the driveshasft and sports an extended aerofoil profile. force india look like they’ve moved it to a lower position forward of the drive shaft.

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