Don't get us wrong, the latest F1 cars will fit the same basic descriptions as last year's grid, but some new regulations mean that they'll all have new nose cones (without that hideous stepped bill from last year), a reshaped rear wing and a narrower cowling that has to accommodate a smaller engine. Each team is likely to interpret the rules differently – at least at the beginning of the season before they all figure out which approach works best – and the bulk of them will be revealing their new designs at the first test session of the season next week at Jerez in southern Spain.
Before even that session rolls around, though, Force India has revealed this sneak peek at what its new car will look like, complete with a new livery that mixes a heavy dose of black into the orange, green and white that has adorned its previous cars. Dubbed VJM07 (the seventh car built under the watchful eye of Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya), it's powered by a new 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 with energy recovery system and eight-speed sequential gearbox, all furnished by Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains (formerly known as Ilmor).
Of course, Force India is remaining mum on the exact specifications, but with an all-new driver lineup pairing Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, the team once known as Jordan will undoubtedly be hoping to further advance up the field from the sixth and seventh places it has finished in the standings the last several seasons.
Sahara Force India revealed its dynamic new look today, offering fans and media a first impression of how the VJM07 will look when it is officially presented at next week's Jerez test session.
The new livery brings a fresh trackside image for the team with the introduction of black alongside the traditional colours of saffron, white and green.
"The VJM07 looks stunning and the new livery reflects the way Sahara Force India is evolving," says Vijay Mallya. "I've always believed our cars have been the most eye-catching, but adding black as a main colour gives us a fierce new look."
Key to the new look is the introduction of several commercial partners. The logo of telecommunications brand, Claro, appears on the engine cover and signals the start of a multi-year deal with the famous Mexican brand. There will be prominent Claro branding on the drivers' suits and team kit.
The rear wing end plate now includes branding from Roshfrans, the lubricant oils specialists, following last week's announcement of a multi-year partnership with the team.
The new livery also sees branding from Astana, a foundation that supports sporting initiatives by promoting the capital city of Kazakhstan. The Astana logo is positioned on the side of the VJM07's nose.
"It's been a busy winter for us on the technical and commercial front," explains Vijay. "When I founded the team my first ambition was to launch the first Indian team on the grid, but the next stage in our evolution is to develop a global brand. I think that ambition is reflected in the partners we are working with and our world class driver line-up. It certainly feels as though there is the potential for 2014 to be our strongest season yet."
As well as new colours, the changes beneath the skin of the VJM07 are even more extensive due to the new technical regulations. "The new rules have presented us with a huge challenge, but I'm very proud of the approach we have taken and the direction of the technical team," says Vijay. "It will be fascinating to see how different teams have interpreted the rules and at this stage it's impossible to predict who has done the best job."
Technical Director, Andrew Green, is quick to emphasise just how different the VJM07 is compared to its predecessor: "Almost every single part is a new design, from the front wing right back to the diffuser. The genetics of the VJM07 still lie in the 2013 car, but we've had to achieve the same results in a slightly different way."
Andrew says accommodating the power unit was the biggest challenge: "It's been a massive job to accommodate all the changes to the power unit - it's the biggest change I've witnessed in the sport since I started in 1990. Cooling has been the biggest challenge with most of last summer taken up trying to understand the cooling requirements of the power unit, and how best to optimise it in the chassis."
Further quotes from the senior management and driver interviews are available for download in the press pack document attached.