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Force India-Mercedes VJM10 Formula 1 Racing Car

The Formula 1 car that drove underdog Force India to a remarkable fourth in the 2017 Constructors’ Championship, a testament to skill triumphing over finances.
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Force India-Mercedes VJM10 Formula 1

The Chassis ‘VJM10-01’s racing record during its active period in the Force India team’s 2017 campaign – for which it was driven by Esteban Ocon to no fewer than nine points-scoring finishes from its nine starts. As can be clearly seen, here is a small-team Formula 1 car which punched way above its supposed weight at World Championship level when guided by the promising young French driver – today a Grand Prix winner, of course, having triumphed in the 2021 Hungarian GP when driving for the Alpine (Renault) team.

In 2016, Ocon made his Formula 1 debut with Manor Racing, before being signed for Force India’s 2017 campaign, where he teamed with the admired Mexican Sergio ‘Checo’ Pérez. While the pair had some controversial moments during that 2017 season, Pérez and Ocon both finished so consistently well that they placed seventh and eighth overall in the Drivers’ World Championship standings come year’s end. And only three teams accumulated more Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship points than Force India; Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

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Focus of the Force India VJM10 Formula 1 design was to prove competitive under revised Formula 1 technical regulations for 2017. The Mercedes power unit and gearbox defined the general layout of the VJM10 as a long-wheelbase car, but the Force India technical team under Andy Green pursued a high-rake aerodynamic concept in contrast to the works Mercedes team’s low-rake preference. Chief aerodynamicist Simon Phillips worked with the Toyota wind tunnel in Cologne, Germany. Team direction was by Otmar Szafnauer, under whom Force India displayed an immensely practical, common-sense approach to racing strategy, particularly with tyre choice.

Some rear-end instability became characteristic of the VJM10 design but it was improved as the season progressed though never fully corrected. This trait was believed to be aero-derived but certain aspects of the rear suspension geometry had been compromised because the Mercedes gearbox’s suspension pick-up points had been tailored to Mercedes’ own low-rake concept, whereas Force India’s was increasingly high-rake – the cars running nose down/tail high to achieve their optimum performance.

This ten-times-raced, modern-era Formula 1 car preserved in non-running ‘show car’ display condition was aquired by Roadsight in 2022 directly from the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team as assembled in show car form around its original 2017 monocoque chassis, but with bodywork and livery representing the taken-over and renamed team’s 2019 Racing Point RP19 Formula 1 contender.

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