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Force India to retain drivers for 2009 UPDATE Indian billionaire owner Vijay Mallya sees Fisichella's experience as vital if the team are to make further progress in 2009.  Although Fisichella, along with team-mate Adrian Sutil, has yet to score a point for the team this season, Mallya has indicated the 35-year-old Italian's role is vital.

"This team needs the experience of Giancarlo, has needed it, and as we design the 2009 car, needs it even more," said Mallya on the 13-season veteran.  This team has never had the benefit in the last two or three years of an experienced driver.  To give you an example, I race horses, and what the jockey tells you, no-one else can.  You can have the best trainer in the world, but you need a jockey to tell you how good or bad the horse is.  Similarly, I firmly believe driver feedback on a car is invaluable and that is why Giancarlo is performing a very valuable role for us."

08/11/08 (GMM)  Force India is likely to field the same race driver lineup in 2009, high profile co-owner Vijay Mallya has said.

Mallya, the billionaire Indian businessman, told F1's official website that he is "happy" with both Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil.

A year ago, Mallya suggested that while his needs for the team's debut year were unique, an Indian driver would "certainly" feature in the 2009 lineup.

Karun Chandhok, an Indian driver in the feeder category GP2, has now suggested he is on the verge of breaking into F1.

But Mallya, despite also possessing the highly motivated Tonio Liuzzi as a test driver, insists: "The experience of Giancarlo is invaluable to me and Adrian has lots of talent.  I think he is improving race by race, becoming more consistent.

"I am quite happy with them," he continued.

"More importantly, they have a great attitude that will help me to face the challenges of tomorrow and I think they will be very satisfied driving the 2009 car, which I personally am sure will be a significant improvement and a big surprise," Mallya added.

We have updated our 2009 F1 Silly Season page above.

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