The Silverstone-based team finished seventh in last season’s constructors’ championship, despite increasing their points haul and could have won in Brazil thanks to Nico Hulkenberg’s spirited drive at Interlagos.
Hulkenberg has now moved to Sauber for 2013, and Force India has yet to announce who will partner Paul di Resta during the upcoming Formula 1 season.
Frenchman Jules Bianchi had been strongly linked with the drive, but he was present at Maranello during the launch of the new Ferrari F138.
The new VJM06 car will be powered by Mercedes engines for the fifth consecutive time and had a brief shakedown run at Silverstone before heading off to Jerez for proper pre-season testing.
“I’m eager to feel what the car is all about. We’re giving it a short test today to get a bit of an idea,” said di Resta, who admitted it was hard to make predictions for 2013.
“I think it’s difficult to set yourself targets, especially at this point. It’s consistency and working the momentum to carry over from last year.
“That’s the focus, to have a car that gets into Q3 and put ourselves into strong positions.”
Technical director Andrew Green said the limited scope for innovation under the technical rules forced them to be more aggressive in their pursuit of performance.
“I’ve pushed the guys quite hard in areas that’s outside their comfort zone,” said Green. “It is under the skin, you can’t see it from here: rear suspension, front suspension, aerodynamics have all been pushed hard.
“I think the guys have done a really good job over the winter and the car is a step improvement from last year. The car should be a lot more consistent, should be a lot easier to drive. We’re looking forward to Jerez to see whether it does what it says on the tin.”
He added that the team’s focus in testing will be getting to the bottom of Pirelli’s new tyres for 2013: “The new tyres haven’t had too much of an impact on this year’s design. It’s been quite small, really.
“We’ve left ourselves a few options to look after the tyres and keep them in their optimum windows.
“What it will do is drive our winter test programme massively. Our focus in testing will be all around the tyres. It’s one thing we don’t really understand at the moment and we probably won’t until we start running them.
“Ever in winter testing it will be difficult to get the complete picture, running around Barcelona is not going to be the same as running in Melbourne.”