Force India’s 2015 Formula 1 car now looks unlikely to make its track debut until this month’s final pre-season test in Barcelona little more than two weeks before the first race in Australia.
“It’s looking likely that the new car, the VJM08, will not be ready in time to make its debut at the first Barcelona test session,” a team spokesman said on Wednesday.
“Everybody is still pushing hard to try and make it happen, but it’s more likely to appear at the final Barcelona test. So, we are making plans to run the 2014 car at the first Barcelona test.”
Force India, with Mexican Sergio Perez and Germany’s Nico Hulkenberg, have been absent altogether from the opening pre-season test in Jerez, southern Spain, that finished on Wednesday.
The team have dismissed continuing speculation that the Silverstone-based team, run and co-owned by Indian drinks tycoon Vijay Mallya, have been unable to test due to financial problems.
They said last month that the car would not be ready in time for Jerez, due to production delays, but had planned to run the 2014 car there.
That decision was then shelved because they said learning opportunities were limited, even though other teams have emphasised the importance of putting mileage on the new cars in the limited amount of testing time available before Melbourne.
The first Barcelona test is scheduled for February 19-22 with the second from February 26 to March 1.