The 2017 Formula One season is fast approaching and this week numerous teams have unveiled their latest challengers. I was lucky enough to attend the launch of the Sahara Force India F1 Team VJM10 covering the event for an F1 news website so I thought I would share my thoughts following the event on my blog.
Off-season? What off-season?
This winter has been a busy one for Formula One. There has of course been the usual hive of activity at the team factories as they undertake the arduous task of creating a car that is able to compete for points and trophies come the start of the season.
Not only had the sport’s freshly-crowned world champion announced his retirement and started an off-season driver market merry-go-round, the teams also had to get their heads around a shake-up in the technical regulations that will bring an approximate four-second drop in lap times. Factor in the purchase of the sport’s commercial rights by Liberty Media and the subsequent leadership modifications and it feels as though there has actually been no off-season at all.
We have liftoff
This week the culmination of a winter of toil occurred as many of the teams showed off their new cars to the world. Journalists the world over have been busier than ever dissecting the designs of those revealed thus far including the latest Silver Arrow, Ferrari and an Orange McLaren.
In my role as a contributor for an F1 news website I was afforded the opportunity to attend the launch of Force India’s latest challenger at Silverstone. Yes, I was extremely excited however I was able to subdue my bubbling emotions enough to resemble a somewhat professional journalist.
Having the opportunity to question Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon on the season ahead was fantastic as was being one of the first to witness the VJM10 in the flesh. It may not be the most attractive of those released thus far, but it was very impressive and let’s face it, the resource-limited squad know how to build a competitive car.
The VJM10 Launch
Attending the launch in the Silverstone Wing is an experience I will never forget. Yes, I hope to have the opportunity to attend many more, but my first will forever be etched into my memory.
Brushing shoulders with well-respected journalists and obtaining quotes from the drivers in person gave me a huge sense of enjoyment as well as achievement. It’s true that F1 is often on a different planet and even launches are no different. The event itself was invite only of course and glamorous – one feels extremely privileged at being given the chance to report on proceedings.
As you would expect, media were provided with delicious snacks and free of charge food and drink provided by the team’s energy drink supplier. Discussion with Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon was great as us media endeavoured to gain an insight into their thinking ahead of the new season.
Ocon’s words in particular were of interest to me following my question about how he feels going up against the experienced Perez in equal machinery:
“What he did for this team was really nice. He pulled up the team so much and has achieved great things with this team. I will have a lot to learn from him, especially in the first test”. In regards to targets for Melbourne, he is keeping things simple: “My personal target is to arrive straight away and be on the pace”.
He is a great guy. Pragmatic in approach he understands that adapting to new regulations and to the team itself requires the ability to watch, listen absorb and act upon information in order to result in a successful first full season.
Please see below for a selection of photos from the launch taken by myself.