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New Force India car in March

Last updated on: January 11, 2009 18:53 IST

The new Force India car, equipped with Mercedes engine and McLaren gearbox, will be unveiled in Spain early March, team owner Vijay Mallya said in New Delhi on Sunday. 

Unveiling the inaugural edition of the Force India Formula One 2009 calendar here, Mallya said the car is under construction but would be ready well before the series opener in Melbourne on March 29.

"The new car, VJM 02, is under construction. It will have McLaren gearbox and Mercedes engine, which is a big change from VJM 01. We are going to unveil it at Jerez in early March," Mallya said.

Asked if lack of time to test the car is a concern for him, Mallya, also the Team Principal of the Formula One outfit, said, "Not really. We will have six-day test which I think is enough. Besides, the facilities at our Silvertstone factory is quite upto the mark and I think we would be ready for the first race." 

Mallya also hailed the recent Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) decision of the F1 teams to agree to a series of cost-cutting measures, including limiting expensive testing and a cheaper engine for smaller teams from 2010. 

"We have agreed to (FIA President) Max Mosley's suggestion to slash down costs without compromising on technological development," Mallya said. 

The economic recession has hit Formula One hard and after Super Aguri quit in April, Honda too pulled out of F1. 

Talking about Force India's target for the 2009 season, Mallya said, "I'm confident we can be in the mid-field."

On the Force India calendar, Mallya said, "Force India has ensured that India is well represented at the pinnacle of motorsports. Recognised as the most improved team on the grid in 2008, Force India is set to cross new milestones and give some serious competitions to other cars on the grid this year.

"The inaugural edition of the calendar captures the thrill and excitement that is integral to F1 and life around the circuit," he added. 

Mallya and model-turned-actor Arjun Rampal unveiled the calendar which figures models Shruti Aggarwal, Moni Kangkana Dutta and Sheetal Menon sharing the space with Force India drivers Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella.

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