Under the skin of the Force India VJM09

After Force India’s remarkable achievement of edging Williams for fourth in the 2016 Formula One Constructors’ championship, Nicolas Carpentiers provides you with under-the-skin pictures and explanations on the team’s Mercedes-powered VJM09.




The Mercedes PU106C power unit fitted at the back of the Force India features the same split-turbo design as its two predecessors, with the compressor placed at the front of the plant while the turbine is mounted at the rear. In comparison, the Ferrari and Renault setups have both elements side-by-side at the back of the engine.

The periscope-shaped air intake system (see ‘1’ on the image above) plunges towards the front of the power unit and feeds air to the compressor (see ‘2’), which has forced the engineers to hollow out the oil tank to free up the required space in the heart of the V6 engine. Incidentally, part of the air going through the triangular air inlet is channelled to the back of the car to feed a gearbox-mounted radiator.

Once this air has been compressed, it then travels to the intercooler (‘5’) through the boost pipework (‘3’) located in the lower part of the engine and wrapped up with insulating material. The same tube can be found on the Mercedes-powered Williams and Manor, as both teams also place the intercooler within the sidepods of their car.

The works Mercedes W07, however, is bereft of it since its intercooler is lodged within the monocoque. On the Force India, the boost pipework connects with another carbon tube (‘4’) in an elbow-shaped setup that goes round another radiator.

Once the intercooler has cooled down the compressed air, it is sent back to the V6 via another boost pipework that branches off into a pair of tubes (‘6’) to feed both ranks of cylinder. The red seals one can spot on the top image are taken off so the tubes, which are of different length, can slot into the inlet manifolds.