Mike Stevens | Feb 11, 2010

AFTER A surprising 2009 season saw the team set a fastest lap, take a pole position and finish second in Belgium, Force India has today revealed its 2010 challenger, the VJM03.

Like last year's VJM02, the new car borrows its name from the initials of current team owner, Indian billion Vijay Mallya, who bought the team from Spyker F1 in 2007 for $137 million.

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Because of last year's relative success, Force India chief designer Mark Smith describes the VJM03 as an evolution of the VJM02, rather than a ground-up redesign.

As with its peers, a ban on fuel stops sees the new Force India car getting a larger gas tank, while the controversial but common-for-2010 double-diffuser design features out back.

"The removal of refuelling from races increases the amount of fuel needed to be stored in the cars - almost twice the amount we ran in 2009. There is a compromise now: either make the car much longer or wider, or, as we have done, a combination of both," Mr Smith said.

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Along with McLaren and the new Mercedes GP team, Force India is powered by a Mercedes engine, an arrangement carried over from the 2009 season.

"2010 is a really important season and we are very optimistic about going well. I think this year it's important to be consistent from the first race. I'd like to be in the midfield and be competitive from Bahrain," driver Adrian Sutil said.

"It's the first time we have been completely on schedule so I feel this will be the first season when I can show from the beginning to the end what is possible with the car and what I can do. Of course we will have updates and performance packages from this point on but I hope we will be strong from the first practice session rather than compromising at the start."

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