Force India team shootout begins
The Force India F1 Team will be back in action at the Circuit de Jerez, southern Spain, for the second test of its winter development program. Over the four day test from 4 - 7 December, the team will again run two former Spyker B-spec F8-VII cars in its interim livery of burgundy and white.
As part of its ongoing program, Giancarlo Fisichella, Franck Montagny and Ralf Schumacher will join the team for a full day's testing. Following their outstanding performance and feedback at the team's previous test in Barcelona, Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi will also participate for one day. Roldan Rodriguez and Giedo van der Garde will finish the test for the team as part of their development program.
Vitantonio Liuzzi commented, 'I was pleased with how Barcelona went and I am happy to be invited back to participate in another test with the team. Everyone is very professional, there's a good atmosphere and I think a lot of potential. For the moment I will concentrate on doing my best in this next test, but it feels good so far - we will see how Jerez goes.'
Christian Klien added, 'I am looking forward to another test with the team in Jerez and to continuing the good work we started in Barcelona. Everyone in the team is very focused and determined to be even more competitive in 2008, so I am happy to be part of the current evaluation program. I will be concentrating on helping them to get the most out of the car and again working well with the engineers.'
Thirty-four year-old Giancarlo Fisichella is one of the most experienced drivers on the F1 grid. He made his debut in 1996 with the Minardi team before moving to Force India's predecessors Jordan in 1997. In his long career, which has also spanned stints at Benetton, Sauber and Renault, Giancarlo has scored three race victories. The Italian said, 'Whilst no drivers have been officially confirmed by Renault, the team has given me permission to explore other options. I was invited to test with Force India F1 Team at Jerez and I was very happy to accept it.'
Ralf Schumacher, 32, started his Formula 1 career back in 1997 with Jordan. He has since raced for Williams and most latterly Toyota. He has picked up a haul of 27 podiums and six victories. 'I have known Vijay for many years over my time with Toyota. I fully understand his passion for the sport and know that he will put this drive into Force India to make it a success. For any driver, driving for a young dynamic team with high ambitions is a good opportunity, but at the moment it is just one test to see how we get on working together, and whether this is possible. I think I can help the team with its development program but we will see.'
Franck Montagny made his F1 race debut last year with Super Aguri, however has a wealth of F1 experience thanks to his testing roles at Renault, at which he spent three years, and at Toyota where he was the team's test and reserve driver this season. He has also competed in the Le Mans 24 Hours. The Frenchman commented, 'I was in contact with Vijay Mallya from my time at Toyota. Towards the end of the year we talked about the future and I heard about the possibility of testing with Force India. Of course I was very tempted as I am sure that with the new owners, the team will be very strong.'
Fisichella and Montagny will open the test on Tuesday 4 December.