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Force India to skip Jerez F1 test

2015-01-29 08:31

NO-SHOW AT JEREZ: Drivers Sergio Perez (right) and Nico Hulkenberg with Force India's 2015 car during a media event at the Hermanos Rodriguez track in Mexico City. Image: AP / Eduardo Verdugo

ALAN BALDWIN

LONDON, England - Force India will not take part in Formula 1's opening pre-season test in Jerez, Spain this weekend (Jan30 - Feb1).


The team this week (Jan 28) dismissed speculation that the team, run and co-owned by billionaire Vijay Mallya, had decided for financial reasons and would attend the following test in Barcelona.

The team added that it had planned to run its 2014 car at Jerez, having already said its new VJM08 would not be ready, but the spokesman said it had since decided the learning opportunities were limited.

He added that the decision was made earlier in January 2015.

HEADED FOR BARCELONA

Jerez has a particularly abrasive surface and does not feature in the championship while Barcelona hosts the Spanish GP in May 2015 and is regarded as a good benchmark for testing.

Barcelona hosts two tests, the first scheduled for February 19-22.

Mercedes-powered Force India, which unveiled a new look at a team presentation in Mexico City on Jan 21) has drivers Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg in an unchanged pairing.

The team was sixth in 2014 but spent much of that season calling for cost cuts and a more level playing field for the smaller outfits.

F1 started 2015 with two teams - Marussia and Caterham - in their death throes and the prospect of only nine on the grid when the season starts in Melbourne on March 15.

'KING OF GOOD TIMES'

Flamboyant liquor baron Mallya, once known as "The King of Good Times", has hit harder times since the failure of his Kingfisher Airlines.

Indian banks want Mallya to repay more than the equivalent of R11-billion in loans Kingfisher, which has not flown since 2012, owes to a consortium of largely state-run banks.

Force India's co-owner Subrata Roy has also been held in a New Delhi jail for more than 10 months under a court order for his Sahara group to refund billions of dollars invested in outlawed bonds.

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2015 F1 season – fresh reports every day.

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