Sahara Force India, Team Principal Vijay Mallya says Melbourne in March is the perfect place to begin the season, and emphasises this is where the team’s innings began eight years earlier. 131 races later, he takes pride in the journey the team has undertaken to find its footing in F1.
2015 season began in Mexico City six weeks ago. VJM08 topped some polls on social media as best looking car. VJM08 ran reliably in Barcelona during its 365 laps. The team is confident of being in a good place for the first race. While it is difficult to make a prediction about the outcome in Melbourne, Sahara Force India mileage is clearly behind other teams. He looks forward to giving it the best shot for a favourable result.
Nico Hulkenberg says the first race of the season is always a special occasion, going racing after a long time with a new car, often times working with new people in the team. He says drivers are just as curious to see where everyone stands as compared to competition.
His favourite bit of the lap at Albert Park is the section between turns nine and twelve in sector two. He says a lot depends on tyre degrading as strategies could open up new opportunities. Good downforce is essential. Nico hasn’t been very lucky in Melbourne in the past. In 2014, the team finished sixth here with the VJM07. Prior to that, Nico never managed to finish more than one lap in Australia. He hopes for a good race in Australia this weekend.
Sergio Perez says the Australian Grand Prix is one of his favourite races. Though the circuit is classified as a street circuit, it doesn’t feel like one, with only a few corners when you get close to the walls. It feels like a permanent track. A mistake on track makes one instantly realise how close the walls really are. Turn one, in particular, is very technical and difficult since one can’t really see the apex. Melbourne marked his first Formula One race, his best memory from Melbourne so far. He hopes to change that.
Sahara Force India team is working with Brandon this 2015 F1 season as team’s clothing and merchandise partner. The multi-year agreement sees Brandon kit the team’s trackside and factory-based personnel. Brandon will engage in distribution of licensed and corporate merchandise so fans can avail wide ranging replica clothing. Paul Preuveneers, Chief Executive Officer for Brandon expressed the company is excited to work with Sahara Force India going forward. Sahara had a strong finish in 2014. Brandon is proud to work with the team, and looks forward to building this relationship together.
Sahara Force India is also working with Adaptavist to finetune its IT systems. The technically-advanced Atlassian partner enhances Sahara team’s ability to find, share and collaborate on information. Adaptavist’s experience and knowledge of issue tracking, code management and the optimisation of the application lifecycle stands it in good stead. Simon Haighton-Williams, CEO of Adaptavist says the process of designing, manufacturing and operating a prototype racing car is a huge challenge. Adaptavist looks forward to offer solutions and providing reliable software to enhance team operational efficiency.
Sahara Force India has also partnered with Skullcandy. The multi-year deal sees Skullcandy supply headphones for use during the season. Its logo will be visible on the rear element of the side pod and on garage headsets. Exposure to how the f1 team works is a unique opportunity for the company.
Sam Paschel, Chief Commercial Officer of Skullcandy says the partnership lets Skullcandy align with one of the most thrilling and exciting sports. Working with Sahara Force India is inspiring as it involves operating in a highly competitive industry with emphasis on innovation and efficiency.
During testing earlier in the year, Pascal Wehrlein, official reserve driver for Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team and Mercedes AMG DTM driver tested with the team in Barcelona. getting behind the 2014 VJM07. Testing programme focused on evaluation of 2015 Pirelli tyres. Pascal participated at the season-ending test in Abu Dhabi in 2014. He is scheduled to participate in two in-season tests. Sergio Perez drove on Friday and Nico Hulkenberg on Sunday. VJM08 debuted in the last weekend of February during the second Barcelona test.
Sahara Force India has also teamed up with Apsley Tailors as team supplier of bespoke tailoring to dress race drivers and senior management this season. This apart the F1 team has begun a partnership with Jose Cuervo. It’s logos will appear on the the VJM08 headrest, driver suits and team clothing.
Accelerate has signed on as digital partner of Sahara Force India and is involved in the team website for 2015 season onwards. Accelerate logo will feature on team assets such as garage interiors and the media wall. Team website integrated social media presence to connect with fans.
Other commercial partners for 2015 include NEC branding on the engine cover, alongwith Claro and Telcel. America Movil begins its second season partnership. Inter branding appears on the front wing end plates. Quaker State motor oil brand partnership with the team sees its logos on the rear wing end plates. Sahara Force India has extended its partnership with Smirnoff for a second season, and continues with long-time partners United Spirits, Kingfisher and Royal Challenge.
Sahara Force India will be using Toyota Motorsport GmbH wind tunnel facilities in Cologne, Germany for aerodynamic testing in 2015 and beyond. Team wind tunnel facilities in Brackley, United Kingdom remain operational and available for external customers.
Dr Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director says the decision reflects team ambition to continue as a competitive force in F1. The team now has access to what is regarded as one of the finest wind tunnels in the world and provides a solid base to build in the years to come.
Update: Sahara Force India has begun a partnership with Hype Energy drinks. The energy drink Energy branding appears on the side pod wing of VJM08, and on drivers’ suits. Originally launched by Barry Cox, Hype is now owned former Formula One driver, Bertrand Gachot. In fact Bertrand was a Jordan Grand Prix team driver. Over the years the team has changed hands and names until Mallya took over and renamed it Force India. Sahara joined at the end of the 2011 season.
Melbourne race weekend saw NEC Corporation (NEC; TSE: 6701) and NEC Mexico, and Sahara Force India announce their new partnership for the 2015 season. NEC steps aboard as Premium ICT Partner focused on short and long-term opportunities. These include NEC tech installation at Sahara Force India UK headquarters. NEC logos appear on VJM08 engine cover, drivers’ suits and helmets, and team clothing.
Channel IT has also joined in as a partner for the 2015 season. Channel IT branding appears on the side pod wing of JM08 from last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.