Force India’s Technical Director Andy Green has explained the VJM10’s unusual appearance to Motorsport.com reporters Glenn Freeman and Jonathan Noble:
“We have tried to exploit an area of the front suspension regulations that improved the characteristics of it from a mechanical perspective.”
The front suspension of the cars has become a point of discussion since Ferrari wrote to the FIA before Christmas asking for clarification of the rules. Autosport wrote about this topic on January 3rd of this year, publishing a letter from Ferrari’s Chief Designer Simone Resta to F1 race director Charlie Whiting. In that letter Resta says:
“We are considering a family of suspension devices that we believe could offer a performance improvement through a response that is a more complex function of the load at the wheels than would be obtained through a simple combination of springs, dampers and inerters”.
So how does this relate to the Force India step nose? In today’s Motorsport article referenced above, Green says that this was their solution to increase the effectiveness of their front suspension:
“It does mean that because of the way the regulations are worded, we cannot merge it into the nose as we would like. There is an exclusion box that we have to respect, so unfortunately we end up with a little bit of a ‘forehead’, as it is called.”
So where does this leave Force India? It appears that they will wait for further clarification on the rules before acting. According to Pitpass.com Green said:
“Yes, I can definitely see it happening,” he told reporters when asked about the possibility of protests. “However, we will stand back and see how it develops and then react to it like we normally do.”
“We have been testing various concepts for a while now,” he admitted, “and each has got some merits. We really want to see how the tyres perform, what the balance is, and where the weakness of the tyres is so we can then attack that with a mechanical solution.”
Green went on to explain to Motorsport that this year’s nose is built upon last year’s “nostril” concept:
“It is a different looking nostril as we had last year – the same philosophy. We just opened it up a little bit more.”
It will be interesting what race stewards have to say about these innovative suspensions come Melbourne.