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Force India VJM06 launch at Silverstone

Cast back your mind a few decades, to bygone Formula 1 launches. The weekly press would carry photographs of such events, specialised occasions whose attendance could be measured in tens rather than hundreds. The images reflected as much, with small groups of humanity clustered around new cars. The location was often Silverstone and the background would sometimes be laced with snow.

Back then, of course, the circuit’s pit complex was a single-tier structure, with cold, concrete bunkers doubling as garages. It was far removed from the contemporary Silverstone Wing, which divides opinion almost as spectacularly as it dominates the local landscape. It is still a pleasing throwback, though, that Force India chooses to unveil new cars in the Silverstone pit lane – the manor of old, if not quite the manner of old (coronation chicken sandwiches and vegetable soup would not have been available in 1977).

f1  Force India VJM06 launch at Silverstone

During the 1990s, F1 teams began moving away from their traditional habitat to unveil cars in theatres, with dancers, fire-eaters and pointlessly elaborate light shows thrown into the mix. In 1997, the Spice Girls turned up at Alexandra Palace to accompany the launch of the McLaren MP4-12: the central attraction lurked silently on a plinth, reduced to a sideshow in the eyes of the mainstream media. Of all the world’s sculptures, racing cars make the least suitable static exhibits.

The wheel has turned full circle, though, and nowadays teams tend to repair once again to racetracks. After the VJM06 had been unwrapped at Silverstone, Paul di Resta completed only the briefest of stints at the wheel. “It’s just a bit of a taste,” the Scot said, “before we run in anger at Jerez next week. It’s nice to see the finished product, though, after a few tantalising glimpses during the recent past. It will be my third season with Force India, so I’m another year wiser and have never felt more ready for the season ahead.”

There was no word on his future team-mate, although the rumour mill places Ferrari development driver Jules Bianchi on pole position. The 23-year-old Frenchman’s recruitment is said to be tied to a customer engine supply deal from 2014, but matters of such contractual delicacy breed only silence. Force India’s deputy team principal Bob Fernley wouldn’t be drawn, other than to mention that his line-up should be formalised by the time the second round of pre-season testing commences in Barcelona.

We didn’t learn a great deal, then, but it was nice to rewind the clock. Appropriately, it was also absolutely bloody freezing.

f1  Force India VJM06 launch at Silverstone

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6 comments on Force India VJM06 launch at Silverstone

  1. Listerine, 1 February 2013 14:59

    The thing is nobody really cares about new car launches anymore, because they all look so much the same from year to year and from team to team. Okay, so this year we have the very welcome cosmetic change at the front end, with a bit of plastic shrouding those hideous stepped noses (except for Lotus who have oddly decided to keep the Fran Cotton look), but apart from that, a shot of Paul di Resta in a Silverstone garage standing proudly aside his new Whyte & Mackay-liveried Force India could be from 2011 or 2012 or 2013. Back in those less glitzy days you describe, Mr Arron, there was a real thrill involved in rushing out on winter Wednesdays for the latest similarly unglitzy Motoring News, because something like a Brabham BT48 or a Lotus 80 or a Ligier JS19 was going to look nothing like its predecessor, or like anything else on the grid for that matter. I think the glitz quotient went up at F1 launches round about exactly the same time as Mosley was tightening up the rules to the extent that the teams realised that press calls to show off slightly different bargeboard profiles were going to interest precisely no-one, apart from maybe Giorgio Piola. But then things came full circle with the ironic realisation that spending hundreds of thousands just to, er, show off slightly different bargeboard profiles was an absurd waste, so it was “back to the pitlanes everyone”.

  2. Phil Rainford, 1 February 2013 16:44

    Was coronation chicken invented in 1977?

    As Paul di Resta says he is ” another year wiser ” and I suggest he realises 2013 is the season he really has prove he
    has what it takes to win races and eventually a World Championship

  3. Ray T, 1 February 2013 18:36

    Well, di Resta can hardly prove anything at that team.
    I agree with the fresh Listerine, F1 is no longer about innovative designs, so launches really don’t mean much.
    I can’t remember a year that has interested me less with the current formula.

  4. Bill, 2 February 2013 11:27

    I agree with Listerine up to a point. Last years cars were very diverse, and the last 3 Newey Red Bull launches kind of said everything about how they would beat the others. Their designs make the others look very mediocre and simple (especially at the rear).

  5. Bill, 2 February 2013 13:52

    The new Sauber is amazing! Stunning looking car.

  6. Mikey, 5 February 2013 10:26

    Re: Phil Rainford.
    Wasn’t Coronation Chicken invented for QE2′s coronation?
    Agree with the comments concerning di Resta. F1 is notorious for turning a “Coming Man” into a “Journey Man” and finally “Yesterday’s Man”

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