After partnering Lotus F1 during the past few year, Dutch lifestyle brand TW Steel has switched to become the ‘official timing partner’ of Sahara Force India.
The deal was announced this morning at the launch of the new team’s new F1 contender, VJM06, at Silverstone.
The watch maker which is known for being ‘Big in Oversized Watches’ has an enviable list of brand ambassadors in the motor sports and entertainment industries including, David Couthard, Dario Franchitti, Mick Doohan, Emerson Fittipaldi and Kelly Rowland.
CEO and co-owner Jordy Cobelens said, “I’m excited to have our brand working with such fantastic entrepreneurs such as Dr. Vijay Mallya and Mr. Subrata Roy Sahara. We know the merits of being involved with a team competing in Formula One and the brand awareness this brings.”
The TW Steel brand, including its ‘two dots’ logo will feature prominently on all the team’s equipment and uniforms and an official watch will be available to buy through the 6000 retail outlets in over 100 countries where the brand is stocked.
Driver Paul Di Resta pulled the covers off the VJM06 at Silverstone this morning, together with Team Principal Bob Fearnley. Absent from the launch was the team’s second driver who is yet to be confirmed, but is expected to be Ferrari protégé Jules Bianchi.
The VJM06 is the third car to be overseen by Technical Director, Andrew Green, and builds on the strengths of the 2012 car which finished the final race of the 2012 season in fifth place, in the hands of former driver Nico Hülkenberg (now with Sauber F1).
As with many of the cars in 2013, VJM06 is more of an evolution than revolution from last year’s car, due to the technical rules remaining relatively unchanged. The one positive change is removal of the previous car’s ‘stepped’ nose.
“The VJM06 doesn’t look massively different to its predecessor, but beneath the skin we’ve looked at every detail to try and find more performance,” says Team Principal, Dr Vijay Mallya. “I’ve followed the development of the car closely and I’m proud of what we have achieved. The objective now is to make sure we build on the promise of last year and have a strong start to the season.”
Summing up the approach to the design of the VJM06, Andrew Green said: “It’s a brand new car from the ground-up – everything is new. We discussed carrying over big chunks of last year’s car, including the chassis, but decided not to. There were still some gains to be had with the chassis, so we elected to take the performance benefits. The biggest change that everybody is going to notice this year is the fairing on top of the nose to hide the ‘step’. It’s neutral as far as the car’s performance is concerned but tidies up the flow over the top of the chassis.”
After the launch, Paul Di Resta took the VJM06 out on to Silverstone’s cold and slippery track for several installation laps, becoming the first team in 2013 to run their new car in public.
Images: TW Steel, Force India