Mumbai: Force India F1 team has tied up with McLaren Applied Technologies and Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines after it split up with engine supplier Ferrari. The Force India Formula1 Team VJM02 cars will now be powered by engines designed and built by Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines. This is the first time that Mercedes-Benz has supplied a chassis maker other than McLaren.
Force India will also have access to the McLaren Group's network of bespoke suppliers that have supported this year's World Championship victory.
As per the agreement, McLaren will supply gearboxes, hydraulic systems and Mercedes-built engines to Force India. McLaren will also lend operational support and provide the team with the new kinetic engine recovery system (KERS). The new partnership is expected to help the team for the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship and beyond.
''McLaren and Mercedes-Benz are two of the most famous names in motorsport history, having achieved great success in Grand Prix racing over many years, and most recently, a superb victory in probably the most dramatic World Championship Formula 1 has seen,." Vijay Mallya, chairman and managing director, Force India said.
"These new resources and developments will provide an enormous boost to our technical armoury and, as a result, we have high hopes of making good progress in 2009 and beyond," he added.
Even though Force India failed to score a point in 2008 with Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil as the drivers, there are hopes that things will be better in 2009. This is as there has been a management reshuffle after which team principal Colin Kolles and technical head Mike Gascoyne are both leaving.
Moreover, Force India's ties with McLaren have been further heightened by the appointment of McLaren's former director of operations Simon Roberts as Force India's chief operations officer.
However, Martin Whitmarsh, CEO, McLaren F1 says his team would not impose drivers on Force India but would make recommendations.
Force India Formula One Team has also announced that it would be expanding the computational fluid dynamics capability of its Brackley Aero Centre facility in conjunction with aerospace company EADS.
''Force India Formula One Team has been in existence for only one year, and inevitably our first season has constituted a learning period. But we said at the outset that we meant business and were not interested in merely making up the numbers. The announcement of our new technical partnership, combined with the new developments and resources outlined above, clearly underlines that we meant what we said. I would like personally to thank Bernie Ecclestone and FIA president Max Mosley, both of whom offered their assistance and support throughout the gestation of this deal,'' said Mallya.
''Interest in Formula One in India, especially among the 300-million-plus professional-class as well as in neighbouring countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Abu Dhabi with a large Indian population, is growing at astonishing levels. Also, Formula One commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone has declared plans to stage an Indian Grand Prix in 2011, in Delhi, our capital city, by which time Force India Formula One Team will be exactly that: a Formula One force in, and for, India,'' he added.
Mallya expects his team to win races by 2010, but, for 2009, he said he would be satisfied if the team was regularly in the points. That would be already a major step forward.
Whitmarsh and Mallya have said that Force India would remain an independent constructor, in compliance with the sport's governing Concorde Agreement, and was not about to become a 'B' team.
Force India F1 is a Formula One motor racing team formed in October 2007, when a consortium led by Vijay Mallya and Michiel Mol bought the Spyker F1 team for € 88 million.
Force India F1 represents increased Indian participation within Formula One, with Delhi set to host the first ever Indian Grand Prix in 2011.
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