This October, Sahara Force India is shining a light on Breast Cancer Awareness Month by printing the names of two inspiring women, Emma Thompson and Elaine Fuller, on the team’s race cars for the United States Grand Prix.

Both women have had a breast cancer diagnosis and the team wants to share their stories as a mark of strength, hope and unity for all those affected by breast cancer. Their names will appear on the car’s headrest, while the Breast Cancer Care Pink Ribbon will be displayed prominently on the nose of the VJM10.
 
Sahara Force India’s team clothing will also turn pink this weekend with the introduction of special edition team shirts on Sunday. These shirts will be worn by Sergio Perez, Esteban Ocon, and all members of the trackside team. It’s just one of the many ways the team hopes to raise awareness and show its support for the millions of people currently living with breast cancer around the world.
 
The team also wishes to recognise the generosity shown by its partners supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This weekend, BWT, the brand which introduced pink to the Formula One starting grid, will make a significant donation of $150,000 to Breast Cancer charities, pledging its support to all those affected by breast cancer. A presentation will take place in Austin on Saturday afternoon.
 
Alongside the awareness campaign, Sahara Force India and Breast Cancer Care, in partnership with Memento Exclusives, have launched an online silent auction to raise valuable funds for the charity. The auction is active now until October 25th and features unique items designed to inspire any Formula One fan. To participate in the silent auction CLICK HERE.
 
In Sahara Force India’s latest video, team members came together to help share the key messages for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

 

Our new contender will be unveiled on Monday 26th at 8am CET.

SET YOUR ALARM CLOCKS - it's nearly time to discover the VJM11!

Our 2018 car will be presented in Barcelona on Monday 26th of February. Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon will pull the covers off the VJM11 in the pit lane at 8:00am local time.

Watch this space as we kick-start our 2018 campaign!

Sahara Force India is pleased to welcome DUO, a market leading industrial engineering brand, as a new partner ahead of the 2018 season.

DUO’s logos will be visible on the team’s 2018 car next week when the covers are pulled off the VJM11 in Barcelona. Branding will be located on the car’s rear crash structure and elements of the front wing.

Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director of Sahara Force India: “I’m pleased to welcome DUO as our newest partner as they venture into Formula One for the first time. DUO’s business shares many parallels with the motorsport industry, especially precision engineering and manufacturing, and Formula One is an ideal platform to showcase their brand and technology.”

Alex Moss, CEO at DUO Group: “We’re very excited about our new partnership with Sahara Force India. We have been involved in motorsport for some years, but it’s our first venture into Formula One. We have huge respect for Sahara Force India and what they have achieved over the last few years. They always deliver outstanding results and often punch well above their weight with tremendous efficiency. We really admire their racer’s attitude and it’s one of the reasons we chose to support the team. This partnership offers a great opportunity for us to develop our brand awareness on a global scale.”

 

About DUO

DUO Group is a market leading company that provides the Aggregate, Recycling and Material Handling Industries with a comprehensive package of complete processing solutions, including specific industrial applications for the Quarrying, Recycling, Bulk Handling Industries and Transport Infrastructure. DUO has a history that dates to 1981 and now comprises of three main business areas; equipment sales, contract processing, and manufacturing, equipment sales support. They also offer pre-used equipment and a comprehensive parts & service package.

Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon will be joined by Nicholas Latifi and Nikita Mazepin during the two weeks of testing in Barcelona.

It’s time to dust off our winter cobwebs! The team's 2018 contender will make its track debut in the hands of Nikita Mazepin as testing starts on Monday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The young Russian, the team’s development driver, will drive on the first day of the first week of testing, with race drivers, Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez, taking the wheel on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. Nicholas Latifi, will sign off the first week on Thursday.

Sergio and Esteban will return to the cockpit for the final four days of testing, with the Mexican in the car on days one and three and the Frenchman on days two and four – the last time on track for our car ahead of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

The full testing schedule is as follows:

Test Week One

  • Day 1: Nikita
  • Day 2: Esteban
  • Day 3: Sergio
  • Day 4: Nicholas

Test Week Two

  • Day 1: Sergio
  • Day 2: Esteban
  • Day 3: Sergio
  • Day 4 Esteban

Sergio chats with Sky Sports' Rachel Brookes ahead of the start of testing for the 2018 season.

Esteban chats with Sky Sports' Rachel Brookes ahead of the start of testing for the 2018 season.

We chat with the young Canadian who is joining the team for the 2018 season.

Welcome to the team Nicholas. Have you settled in well over the last few weeks?

NL: “It’s early days and I’m still getting to know people, but so far so good. The size and scale of an F1 team always impresses me and I’m still learning everybody’s name. The welcome I’ve received has been very warm and I’ve already built some good relationships with the engineers who I’ve been working with in the simulator. I’ve visited the factory a few times and there’s a great atmosphere. I’m enjoying being part of this team.”

How was your winter? What have you been doing for the past few months?

NL: “The winter is always the best time to work on your base fitness. When we start travelling, it’s hard to keep up a regular training programme so I’ve worked really hard in the last three months to get in great shape. I’ve done a bit of everything: cardio, strength work, and even some karting in Florida. I really enjoy fitness work so it’s not really a hardship for me.”

You will be driving the F1 car during the first test in Barcelona. What are your expectations?

NL: “I’m really excited to be getting in the car so soon. I will be driving the last day of the first week, which is ideal because it will give me a few more days to observe how the team works and hear the feedback of Esteban and Sergio. I know that track time is critical early in the season so my goal is to make sure I give the team the best possible feedback and help with the car development.”

You’ve been working on the team’s simulator already – how helpful is this for your preparation?

NL: “Irrespective of the benefits the team gets from the simulator, it’s such a useful tool for a driver, especially a young driver like me. I’m always keen for more track time, but the reality is that F2 and Formula One have strict limits on how much track testing is allowed. So anything I can do to supplement driving time – even in the virtual world – is a huge benefit. It’s a big help when you’re about to drive a new car for the first time because you can familiarise yourself with the car’s procedures and the steering wheel functions.”

You will drive in a number of free practice sessions this year, one of which will be at the Canadian Grand Prix. That must be such an exciting prospect…

NL: “Actually I’ve never raced or even driven at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve so this will be my first opportunity to experience an amazing track. I’m super excited about driving the car in front of the Canadian fans and I’m sure it will be a highlight of the season. I will try and enjoy the moment, but I’m well aware that the priority is simply to work through the practice programme and give the team all the information they need.”

How well do you know Sergio and Esteban?

NL: “Sergio I don’t know well, but I’ve known Esteban for a few years and we were teammates together in F3. They are both racing at a high level and Sergio has been racing in F1 for a long time. I’m sure there will be the opportunity to learn from both of them.”

 

Nicholas Latifi

 

Sahara Force India is pleased to announce a partnership with RAVENOL, the high-quality lubricants specialists.

The Ravensberger Schmierstoffvertrieb GmbH based in Werther, Germany, manufactures and markets high-quality lubricants under the brand name “RAVENOL” since 1946. Their Research and Development Department, one of the most technically advanced in the world, is where some of the most innovative lubricants on the market today are developed - not only to meet, but often to exceed the requirements of even the most ambitious vehicle manufacturer and to comply with future regulations. Their high-quality lubricants will be supplied directly to the Force India development center in Silverstone.

Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director of Sahara Force India: “I’m delighted to welcome RAVENOL to the team as we prepare for the start of the 2018 season. Formula One represents a fantastic opportunity for RAVENOL to reach a huge global audience and increase awareness of its high quality products. We look forward to a successful partnership as we work with RAVENOL to achieve their marketing objectives.”

RAVENOL’s Head of Motorsport, Martin Huning, sees the entry into Formula 1 as the next logical step in further developing a brand already respected in motorsport around the world. “We are committed to reducing fuel consumption and environmental impact by continually utilising the latest developments in lubrication technology to produce some of the most advanced lubricants available. To have been chosen as the Official Lubricants Partner of the Sahara Force India F1 Team serves to underline the quality of our products”.

The partnership will see RAVENOL branding appear on the bargeboard of the team’s VJM11 car as well as on the drivers’ race suits.

 

Ravenol partners with Sahara Force India

 

The winter months are a time for planning, hard work and lots of practice for our pit crew.

It’s 10:30 in the morning in Silverstone. Outside of our team’s HQ the air is cold and a chilly northern wind is blowing, but inside the walls of the red brick building the personnel going about their day are sheltered from the elements.

On the ground floor of our base, right next to the race bays where our 2018 car is taking shape, our crew is finishing their warm-up routine: limbs stretch, arms rotate, a choreography of bodies preparing for their daily moment of endeavour.

Then, out of the silence come the screams of four wheel guns, blazing in unison. The high-pitched whirrs, like the sound of jack-hammers pounding on metal, leave no doubt to what is going on: like every morning during the off-season, it’s pit stop practice time.
 

Pit stop practice


“It’s such an important process, especially at this time of the year,” explains Race Team Operations manager Mark Gray, in between a stop and the other. “We are testing new equipment, testing new items on the car, integrating new staff into our team and moving people around to find the strongest combination for our pit crew.”

In his role, Mark needs no reminder of the importance of every small detail in the pursuit of perfection. The winter months, far from being a period of inaction, are the time for the crew to refine one of the most delicate skills required on a race weekend, a skill that requires dexterity, focus and tip-top physical shape.

“Our crew trains a minimum of three times a week in the gym, building up the strength needed for the position they are in,” says Mark. “They’re pretty tough one-hour sessions but the crew enjoy them. Every day, we also do 30 minutes of pit stop practice. This could be anything between 10 and 30 stops, depending on what we are focusing on. Early in the year we’d start with regular wheel changes, the job we do most regularly during a race, but as the crew builds confidence we introduce other scenarios – nose changes, or situations in which the car is not straight in the box, or in which there is damage to the car. We need to be ready for all possibilities and practice until this becomes second nature.”

Having the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it action of a pit stop become second nature is not easy – at least at first. Ashley Jones has been working as front-right tyre wheel-on for 18 months and has a full season’s worth of experience on the front line. “It’s only two seconds but it’s hard work and it takes a lot of learning to get it right. Once you get into the rhythm, it’s all about the timing and making sure you work with the others on your corner. When you’ve done it so long, you just go into autopilot: you don’t notice what you’re doing or even think about anything that is around you.”

The bubble into which mechanics can slip may help them focus, but shaking it up with some variety can help improve the general outcomes of a stop. “Adapting to a new position is quite a big difference,” says Ash, who has been training in the new position of wheelgun man. “There are aspects you do not take into consideration when you do something else, but once you move to a new position you notice a lot more and you realise how much you rely on the other crew members.”

Moving mechanics around is not just about giving them more awareness. It is also a way to find out who’s best suited for certain positions. Mark Gray is responsible for the line-up of mechanics in the stop and a big part of his job involves analysing his team’s strengths and, crucially, giving his crew members a chance to try something outside their comfort zone.

“It’s important to match the right people to the best position. Some volunteer for specific jobs or think they’d be very good at them, other positions require a certain level of physical fitness or even body size. You wouldn’t want someone very light on the jacks, when a heavier person can put a lot more weight in and do the job more easily,” explains Mark. “We need the strongest possible combination; but if someone shows interest, wants to have a go and shows they’re willing to put in the effort, I am happy to give them a try.”

 

Pit stop practice


There are some cases, of course, in which Mark has to overcome a bit of reluctance when he spots hidden talent. “Some people are a bit nervous – they may not want to cope with the pressure, maybe. Often, however, they try a job and they’re good at it and this makes their confidence grow – and they end up in that position,” Mark says with a smile. “In the end, we collect a lot of data and this helps us make the best decision for the team.”

While there is a lot of science revolving around the selection process, pit stops remain incredible adrenaline-filled moments in the race. The tension is not confined to those watching – it is palpable among the crew as well. Mike Brown, Checo Perez’s number 1 mechanic and left-front wheel on man, agrees: “It’s a good adrenaline rush, it’s the most important part of the race for us in the crew and it’s something we look forward to.

“You need to remain calm and composed and that’s why it looks like quite a relaxed atmosphere. But inside you, especially for the first stop in a race, the emotion is huge and you feel your heart jumping out of your chest. It’s a great feeling.”

For the outside viewer, the two seconds of a pit stop go in a flash; but how is it for the crew? “It goes in slow motion,” says Mike. “You can see everything and it’s as if your brain had slowed down. It’s a lot of pressure but such a big relief when the car drives away, you exchange some eye contact with the others and you know you’ve done a good job. Of course, that’s not when you have a stacked pit stop – then it’s just six or seven more seconds of the same feeling!”

Fans, rightly so, look at pit crew members like masked superheroes. What followers of Formula One witness is just the end product of hours and hours of work in the gym, countless practice stops, 24 people devoted to the pursuit of perfection, to shaving away every fraction of a second possible. It’s a monumental effort – but such a big reward when the results this effort produces comes in.

“When I first started, I had butterflies in my stomach and I was thinking ‘do not mess this up’,” chimes in Ash. “But now I love it. A pit stop is something that makes you feel an integral part of the team. And when you get to tell people that you’re a member of a pit crew for a Formula One team, that’s such a proud moment.”
 

Pit stop practice

 

Ahead of the 2018 season, we want to hear our fans’ opinions about our website and the content we produce.

Following the launch of a new website in 2017, Sahara Force India will set the second year of a new digital era rolling with a research survey aimed at its online followers.

Run in conjunction with the team’s Digital Partner, Orange Bus, the survey will be listening to the fans’ voices to gain a better understanding of what the community wants and to inspire the team’s digital efforts in the new season.

All fans registered to the Sahara Force India mailing list will receive an invitation to the survey, with all respondents entered in a draw to win a 1:18 model of Sergio Perez’s 2016 VJM09 – signed by the man himself.

The survey is the first step in a series of initiatives, led by Orange Bus, with which the team will enhance its digital offering in 2018.

Enter the Survey here.