LOOKING AHEAD: The Force India team said it's considering halting the development of its 2016 racer, in order to shift full focus to the 2017-spec car. Image: AP / Manu Fernandez
Force India is reportedly considering halting its car development programme for 2016 in order to focus on preparing for next year's new rules.
The Silverstone based team's founder and boss Vijay Mallya has been missing from the paddocks so far this year amid his financial and legal troubles in India.
READ: India asks Britain to deport Force F1 chief Mallya
Unhappy about comments
Force India and Sauber are pursuing Formula 1 through the European Commission over the sport's governance and income systems, and are reportedly unhappy with what Christian Horner last week called the "weak" new engine rules.
"I think we'll reserve our position," said Force India deputy boss Bob Fernley, who is believed to have written a letter to the FIA to voice the team's displeasure.
But while Sauber was absent from the Barcelona test this week, Force India in Spain pushed ahead with a significant car upgrade.
Nico Hulkenberg told Auto Motor und Sport: "It reminds me of the debut of our B-car last year. It feels very different."
It is believed Force India designed the upgrade to be a strong basis for the remainder of the season, as the teams with the smallest budgets will struggle to run parallel development programs for 2016, as well as the big changes coming next year.
Small steps towards improvement
Force India technical boss Andy Green said: "It looks as though we have a lot of potential in this package. We can find a lot of laptime through the setup.
"Perhaps we will then only improve the car with small, detailed steps."
READ: Force India F1 team want 2016 payment advances
If that sort of plan is replicated by the other midfield teams like Toro Rosso and Haas, it's good news for the bigger-budgeted McLaren-Honda.
"We hope that we can beat the midfield through our pace of development," confirmed McLaren boss Eric Boullier.
McLaren supremo Ron Dennis even warned last week that two teams appeared in danger of complete collapse.
Dennis told F1 Racing magazine: "Certain teams are currently experiencing hardship, and in fact I wouldn't be too surprised if one or two of those teams fail to make it to the end of the season."