Ferrari's 056 V8 was good enough to propel the Scuderia to the constructors' title this past season, and good enough to bring erstwhile back-markers Toro Rosso to a solid 6th place by season's end. But it wasn't enough to take Force India F1 – the latest incarnation of Jordan Grand Prix – out from the back of the field all season. Notwithstanding the unfortunate incident that saw Ferrari's own Kimi Raikkonen take Force India's Adrian Sutil out from 4th place at the Monaco Grand Prix with only ten minutes to go, Force India didn't manage a top 10 finish all season, earning a grand total of 0 championship points. So rather than stick with Ferrari, Vijay Mallya – the team's owner, chairman, director and main sponsor – has canceled the remaining year left in his contract with Ferrari and defected to McLaren-Mercedes instead.
The new deal, which was widely anticipated, will see Force India using engines, transmissions, hydraulics, Kinetic Energy Recovery System and a variety of other parts from McLaren Applied Technologies and Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines. The collaboration means McLaren-Mercedes will provide pretty much everything but the chassis, which Force India will have to design itself using its new computational fluid dynamics facility.
This new deal with McLaren tips the balance: whereas Ferrari was supplying an unprecedented two teams with engines this past season and McLaren none, in the coming season each will supply another team, while Toyota continues to supply Williams and Renault to Red Bull, leaving Honda (since the demise of Super Aguri) and BMW as the only engine suppliers not supporting b-squads.
[Source: Force India Formula One Team, Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty]
Force India Formula One Team Announces Technical Partnerships With Mclaren Applied Technologies, Mercedes-Benz Highperformanceengines And Eads
Force India Formula One Team is pleased to announce a major new partnership that will propel the team forward for the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship and beyond; a ground-breaking technical partnership with McLaren Applied Technologies (which is a company wholly owned by the McLaren Group) and with Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines.
In a unique long term deal, the Force India Formula One Team VJM02 cars will be powered by engines designed and built by Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines, the first time that the legendary manufacturer has supplied another chassis constructor other than McLaren. Additionally, Force India will have access to the McLaren Group's network of bespoke suppliers that has supported this year's World Championship victory.
McLaren Applied Technologies will additionally supply the Force India Formula One Team cars with McLaren Racing gearboxes and hydraulic systems and will provide operational support to ensure Force India functions at its highest possible level.
The Force India Formula One Team also plans to fit its cars with a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) that is currently being developed by Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines and McLaren Racing (which is also a company wholly owned by the McLaren Group).
In conjunction with aerospace company EADS - which, like McLaren and Mercedes, is also a global leader in its field – Force India Formula One Team announced that it will soon be expanding the computational fluid dynamics capability of its Brackley Aero Centre facility.
Dr. Vijay Mallya, chairman and managing director of Force India, commented: 'We are absolutely delighted to be able to announce a technical partnership with McLaren Applied Technologies and Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines, and also our plan to expand the composite manufacturing capability and drawing office within our Silverstone facility.
'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.
'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.
'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.'
'Interest in Formula One in India, especially among the 300-million-plus professional-class demographic as well as in neighbouring countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Abu Dhabi with a large Indian population, is growing at astonishing levels. 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.'