Donington Park has welcomed a selection of new exhibits to the Grand Prix Collection this month, including machinery from Force India, Jordan, Midland F1 and Williams.
Two new additions from Force India include the famous machine that was driven by Giancarlo Fisichella to Force India’s first ever podium at Spa Francorchamps in 2009 as well as the 2011 car that was driven by Scotsman Paul di Resta. Meanwhile a 2004-specification Jordan Ford and a 2006 Midland F1 machine, presented in its late season Spyker livery, have also arrived at Donington, where they are additionally joined by a Williams from 2009. With the new arrivals, there are now six Force India cars present in the Collection, making it the largest series of Force India machinery on display to the public anywhere in the world.
The headline addition is the 2009 Force India Mercedes, chassis number VJM02-04R, which competed in 13 of the 17 races held that year and provided one of the shocks of the decade when Italian Fisichella qualified for the Belgian Grand Prix on pole position. Fisichella came within a whisker of claiming victory, having been overtaken by the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen early in the race, and eventually finished just under a second shy of the Finnish former champion. Nonetheless, the result not only marked Force India’s first podium finish and pole, but also the first ever points finish for a team that had until that point, been a regular in the lower midfield runners. That makes this very car a real breakthrough machine!
The other new Force India to the collection is chassis number VJM04-02 from 2011. Again powered by Mercedes, it was driven by Paul di Resta in all 19 races earning a total of eight different points finishes that year, with a best finish of sixth under the floodlights in Singapore. Di Resta finished 13th in the 2011 Driver’s Championship while the team finished sixth overall, its best championship result up to that date.
These new arrivals join the four Force Indias already on display at Donington. These are a 2008 model, another 2009 car, which took Adrian Sutil to fourth place at Monza, a 2010 car which raced in all 19 races that year scoring a best result of fifth with Sutil, as well as another 2011 machine, which powered Sutil to a best result of sixth at the Nurburgring and at Interlagos.
The Force India team is a continuation of the Jordan squad, which first competed in F1 in 1991. Jordan was sold to Russian investors in 2004 and became ‘Midland F1’ in 2006, before it was purchased by the investors behind the Dutch supercar manufacturer Spyker towards the end of the year. The team then raced as Spyker in 2007, before morphing into Force India for the 2008 season.
The addition of the 2004 Jordan, and the 2006 Midland cars, as well as the large selection of Force Indias now provide a unique record of the team’s transitional period in the mid-2000s. All the new additions can be found in Hall Three of the Grand Prix Collection.
Elsewhere within the Museum, another new exhibit is a 2009-specification Williams Toyota FW31 (chassis 03), which was driven by both Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima. Rosberg scored a respectable 34.5 points, with the team finishing seventh overall in that year’s championship. This car is currently on display in the main foyer of the Collection.
Museum Manager Garry Rankin commented: “The Donington Park Grand Prix continues to evolve and we’re delighted to have recently welcomed some fantastic modern F1 machinery. We’re proud to now have the world’s largest collection of Force Indias currently on show to the public, and the inclusion of the Midland and Jordan cars, as well as the Williams, are further examples of the rare and exclusive cars that visitors can see up close!”
Entry to the Donington Park Grand Prix Collection, incorporating the Wheatcroft Military Collection is available throughout the year, with admission for adults costing £12 and £5 for children aged 16 and under. Opening hours are from 10am-5pm with last admissions at 4pm.