HEADED FOR BARCELONA: Force India drivers Nico Hulkenberg (pictured here) and Sergio Perez will attend the second F1 pre-season test in Barcelona. Image: AFP / Alexander Klein
BARCELONA, Spain - The absent-in-Jerez Force India team is setting up for second pre-season testing in Barcelona, Spain.
Despite rumours of financial and supplier trouble, the team is conspicuously among its eight peers at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.
Missing however is its 2015 car, the yet-untested VJM08, amid reports that engine supplier Mercedes' reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein will begin the running in 2014's year's VJM07 on Thursday (Feb 19).
'ACTION IN SPAIN'
Force India has rejected any suggestion that its drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez will defer driving to Wehrlein, stating "they will be in action in Spain". Sources report that while Wehrlein will drive on Thursday (Feb 19) and Sunday (Feb 22) , Perez and Hulkenberg will be at the wheel of the VJM07 on Friday (Feb 20) and Saturday (Feb 21) respectively.
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Hot on the heels of the Wehrlein reports, Vijay Mallya denied that Force India added silver to its cars' livery for 2015 due to forging closer ties to Mercedes.
Mallya said: "We always had a colour scheme based on white, incorporating the colours of the Indian flag but we decided we wanted something more assertive so we changed our base from white to black.
"We added silver because it looks more elegant."
Vijay denied the silver had anything to do with Mercedes: "Yes, we use Mercedes engines but it has nothing to do with the Silver Arrows."
The VJM08's delay, however, is far from ideal preparation for the 2015 season, although the most serious rumours of financial trouble have been denied. Italy's Omnicorse claims sources are reporting that all 300 employees have now been paid their salaries for January and February 2015.
And after skipping Jerez, the team was now fully focused on Barcelona. Hulkenberg quipped: "I've certainly recharged my batteries."