No early-season crisis for Force India in 2016

Feb.22 (GMM) Force India has avoided repeating the crisis of last winter.

A year ago, the Silverstone based team’s early campaign was derailed by financial problems, reportedly as suppliers refused to release work due to unpaid bills.

“Because of what happened with Caterham and Marussia, some suppliers tightened the thumbscrews,” sporting director Otmar Szafnauer told Auto Motor und Sport.

But as the 2016 car was revealed and debuted on time in Barcelona on Monday, it became clear that those troubles are over for now.

“We have done a better job of having the money available at the right time, even though our budget is similar to last year,” Szafnauer said.

Another reason for Force India’s better preparation for 2016 is that, for the first time, the team has manufactured its chassis fully in-house.

Money, however, is obviously still tight, as Force India has accepted the cheques of development driver Alfonso Celis rather than allowing Nico Hulkenberg or Sergio Perez give the VJM09 its track debut on Monday.

“Of course it’s not ideal,” Hulkenberg admitted, “but today is only the first day and the real work will be done later.

“The second day hurts more but it was a decision of the team that I have to accept and cope with.”

Mexican Perez agrees, smiling: “I hear the forecast is better for tomorrow.”

Celis, a Mexican teen, has also been promised seven Friday practice sessions this year.

Asked if he and Perez will alternate giving up their cockpits, Hulkenberg confirmed: “Yes, that’s the plan. But I’ve had to give my car to another driver on Fridays in the past and it was not a big deal.”

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