Force India confirms '08 driver lineup
The Force India Formula One Team is delighted to announce that Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil will lead the team for its debut 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship campaign. To further strengthen resources, Vitantonio Liuzzi will fulfill a test and reserve driver role for Force India. We have now, therefore, finalized our 2008 F1 Silly Season Page.
(L to R): Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Force India F1, Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1, Vijay Mallya (IND) CEO Kingfisher, Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Force India F1 and Dr Colin Kolles (GER) Force India Team Principal. Force India Driver Announcement, Mumbai, India, 10 January 2008.
Thirty-four-year-old Giancarlo, from Rome, Italy, impressed the team with his strong contribution during Force India's four-day test in Jerez, Spain, at the end of 2007, while Tonio Liuzzi's solid feedback and insight stood out over the two days of testing he completed in November and December. Adrian is retained for a second season with the team on the back of his solid 2007 form.
New recruit Giancarlo will bring 12 years of F1 experience to the team following stints at Minardi, Force India's predecessors Jordan, Benetton, Sauber and most recently Renault. With three wins, three pole positions and 267 points to his credit, he is one of the most successful drivers on the current F1 grid.
Adrian will contest his second year of the FIA Formula One World Championship. In the latter half of 2007 he was regularly pushing more established drivers, which culminated in his, and the team's, first championship point in the Japanese Grand Prix. Adrian joined the team as the 2006 Japanese F3 champion, and runner-up to Lewis Hamilton in the 2005 F3 EuroSeries.
Tonio joins the Force India Formula One Team with three years F1 experience following campaigns with Red Bull and Toro Rosso. The 27-year-old Italian also has a strong background in the junior formulae, with a dominant victory in 2004 FIA Formula 3000 championship and the CIK Karting title to his name.
Giancarlo said, "I am looking forward to joining Force India for the coming season. At the test in Jerez, I was very impressed with the team's professionalism and commitment to move forward and I hope that my experience will help them achieve these goals. Contrary to what people may think, this was not my only opportunity, it was the best one: with new owners and a competitive budget, I really think we can shake things up next year. I feel motivated and ready to help Force India get points on a regular basis."
Adrian commented, "I am very happy to stay with Force India for another season. There was interest from other teams, but the opportunity to stay with a growing team that has strong ambitions is very positive for me at this stage in my career. I am also very excited about the opportunity to work with Giancarlo. He is very experienced and has driven for a World Championship winning team, which can only help both myself and Force India learn and move forward."
Tonio added, "I am very pleased to be able to help Force India in their testing and development program this year. With increased resources there will be much more input and emphasis into the team's testing, and the test driver's role will be crucial to helping progress. I know I can play a big part in the team as it grows, which is a good opportunity for me going forward."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, chairman and managing director of Force India F1 Team commented, "The Force India Formula One Team is a serious project and we wanted to make a statement to this effect with our driver line-up. Money is not the issue now: we need drivers who will push the team and give us direction. The race line-up of Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil is a very good one, balancing both speed and experience, and Tonio will provide the team with solid support in his testing program. I think we have a very strong driver line-up for 2008."