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Force India leave it late to debut new car

January 30, 2009 22:32 IST

Force India plan to give their 2009 Formula One car its track debut in early March after working flat out to integrate the new Mercedes engine and McLaren [Images] gearbox.

"It's obviously very tight, because of what we've had to do. But the plan is to hit the last two official team tests before the season," technical director James Key told the team website (www.forceindiaf1.com) on Friday.

The season starts in Australia [Images] on March 29, with Italian Giancarlo Fisichella [Images] and Germany's [Images] Adrian Sutil [Images] driving for the team again.

Testing is banned once the season starts.

Force India used Ferrari [Images] engines last season, without scoring a point, and did a deal with McLaren and Mercedes in November for an engine and gearbox package for the VJM02 car as well as the new KERS energy recovery system.

"Some areas of the car matched very well with the new packaging requirements we had, while in other areas it was significantly different," said Key.

"Effectively we have had to redesign quite a bit of the car, and starting in November, that's been quite a major undertaking," he added.

"We've certainly had late calls in the past. This is quite a late one, but for all the right reasons, in terms of long-term stability for the team."

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