Force India to roll out new F1 car before pre-season test next week

Force India will roll out its new Formula 1 car just before the first pre-season test next week.

"Here's the plan for testing next week: the VJM09 will break cover on Monday morning at 8.30 am Spanish time in the BCN pit lane," said a tweet from the Sahara Force India account on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, Sahara Force India had announced that Nikita Mazepin will be joining it in a developmental role. Nikita has already captured the attention of many observers on his way up the motor racing ladder. After impressing in karting with second place in the 2014 CIK-FIA World Championship, the young Russian graduated to Formula Renault 2.0 in 2015 where he secured his first single-seater podium finish.

Nikita's racing plans for 2016 include a season in the Formula 3 Euro Series with Hi-Tech Racing alongside his Formula One commitments.

"It's an incredible feeling to join Sahara Force India," said Nikita. It's the biggest step in my career and I want to thank Vijay (Mallya) and everyone in the team for giving me this opportunity."

Mallya, team principal and managing director said this was a fantastic opportunity for Nikita to begin his Formula One apprenticeship and become fully embedded inside the team. "We have a strong track record of identifying and nurturing young talent and it is clear that Nikita is already a very capable and determined racer. 2016 will provide the perfect opportunity to showcase his abilities and develop the skills needed to become a Formula One driver."

The Sahara group is looking at selling its 42.5 per cent stake in the Force India Formula One team to enable it to pay for the release of its founder, Subrata Roy, from jail. The group had paid $100 million in 2011 to buy a stake in the team. Mallya also owns a 42.5 per cent stake in the team.