Mercedes to make Force India change both drivers? UPDATE #8 This rumor is now upgraded back to 'strong' today. McLaren-Mercedes could turn to its new technical collaboration with Force India to place its own driving talents, Norbert Haug has admitted.
Following the announcement of the linkup and McLaren tester Pedro de la Rosa's winter test for Silverstone based Force India, it was speculated that hopefuls including Paul di Resta and Gary Paffett might also benefit from the deal.
Vijay Mallya-led Force India ultimately stuck with its existing driver lineup for 2009, but Haug now admits that Mercedes getting involved in the future is a possibility.
"Not now, but this could mutually be developed as an option for the future. For now we prefer to make one step at a time," the German said in an interview with DNA India.12/13/08 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' based on today's announcement.
11/28/08 This rumor is downgraded to 'speculation.' Despite the persistent rumors that his seat or the one of teammate Adrian Sutil is under threat after the deal between Force India and McLaren, Giancarlo Fisichella is not worried at all. The Roman said in an interview with the official Formula 1 site that he has a solid contract. Fisichella said: "I originally signed a two-year contract which was reviewed in September to incorporate the McLaren deal. In a few words, the team offered me a better car and a different package. I accepted their proposal and both sides signed the new document between Singapore and China. This is why Dr Mallya made the announcement in Shanghai."
11/21/08 (GMM) Giancarlo Fisichella has joined his 2008 teammate Adrian Sutil in insisting his future on the formula one grid with Force India in 2009 is secure.
After boss Vijay Mallya vowed to take new partner McLaren-Mercedes' advice on all matters, the British team's main test driver Pedro de la Rosa this week tested the Force India car at Barcelona.
It sparked intense speculation that, notwithstanding Mallya's previous suggestions that Sutil and Fisichella will race on next year, their seats may in fact be in doubt.
"I am not anxious," the 35-year-old Roman Fisichella, who like Sutil also tested at Barcelona this week, is quoted as saying by Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I do not think that there will be problems for me.
"I have a signed contract and Vijay Mallya announced that the drivers for 2009 will be Adrian Sutil and myself," he added.11/19/08 (GMM) Adrian Sutil insists he does not fear for his place on the 2009 formula one grid.
After Force India boss Vijay Mallya recently admitted he will take new partner McLaren's advice in all areas, Pedro de la Rosa is this week testing for the Silverstone based team.
|Adrian Sutil is confident Force India will keep him|
The McLaren-linked DTM racer Paul di Resta has also been linked with a race seat at Force India, who in 2008 fielded 25-year-old Sutil alongside Giancarlo Fisichella.
But Sutil's manager Manfred Zimmerman at the weekend said the German driver's race seat for 2009 is safe.
"The team has told me quite clearly that they are counting on me," Sutil, who like de la Rosa is testing in Barcelona this week, is quoted as saying by Sport Bild.
"Anyway, I have a valid contract for 2009," he added.
Sutil said he has not contacted any other teams regarding next year. "At the moment there is no reason to," he insisted. 11/18/08 (GMM) Pedro de la Rosa has already signed a contract to race with the newly Mercedes-powered and McLaren-equipped Force India team in 2009, the Spanish press declared on Tuesday.
The Spaniard, currently McLaren's primary test and reserve driver, climbed into the Silverstone based team's Ferrari-powered 2008 car at Barcelona in the morning, and he will remain in the cockpit for the duration of the test.
The Spanish newspaper Diario AS said de la Rosa's signing will be confirmed within a few weeks, insisting the 37-year-old is almost certainly taking the seat of the Roman veteran Giancarlo Fisichella.
In a recently-confirmed deal, Force India will utilize McLaren expertise, KERS systems, hydraulics, transmissions and Mercedes engines in 2009 and beyond.
"I am very happy to do this test with Force India, thanks to McLaren," de la Rosa confirmed on Tuesday.
"I am excited, but this test does not mean anything. I have nothing to say, and nothing to lose," he added.
To the Spanish newspaper El Pais, he explained: "For the moment, this is just two days of tests and nothing more. My contract is with McLaren, and I thank them for allowing me to do this.
"So far, nobody has promised me anything," de la Rosa insisted.11/16/08 (GMM) Adrian Sutil's manager has played down speculation the German driver's place on the 2009 formula one grid may not be safe.
With recent confirmation of Force India's tie-up with McLaren-Mercedes, it was suggested that the British team may have some influence over the final configuration of race drivers.
It led to speculation that the McLaren-Mercedes backed DTM racer Paul di Resta, or primary F1 test driver Pedro de la Rosa, could be called up to Force India, to the detriment of either 25-year-old Sutil or his 2008 teammate Giancarlo Fisichella.
"There is no reason for us to believe that Adrian's place is anything other than safe," his manager Manfred Zimmermann told motorsport-total.com.
Zimmermann explained that not only is Sutil's contract valid also for 2009, but that team boss Vijay Mallya has reiterated the situation several times by a factor of "100 per cent".
Not only that, but Sutil visited Force India's Silverstone factory last Friday to have his seat fitted for the 2009 car.
It also emerges that he will test on two out of the three days for the team in Barcelona this week.11/15/08 Following McLaren-Mercedes' recent tie-up with Force India for 2009 and beyond, could the Silver Arrows' test driver Pedro de la Rosa be set to return to the F1 grid at the expense of DTM Vice-Champion Paul di Resta next year..?
Pedro de la Rosa has refused to comment on mounting speculation that he is being considered for a return to Formula 1 with Force India in 2009 - even if he has admitted that 'what [he] really wants to do is to race'.
The Spaniard competed in 72 grands prix for Arrows, Jaguar and McLaren-Mercedes from 1999 to 2006, with a best finish for the latter in the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix at Budapest, when he took the checkered flag as runner-up to race-winner Jenson Button.
Since then de la Rosa has not raced, but has remained in the F1 paddock as the principal test driver for the Woking-based outfit. Should the rumor mill prove to be correct, he could be set to return to the starting grid next season.
Force India's recent tie-up with McLaren has led to suggestions that current DTM Vice-Champion and long-time Mercedes-Benz protégé Paul di Resta may be in-line to replace Adrian Sutil and make his F1 debut at the small Silverstone-based squad in 2009, but Spanish newspapers are claiming it is de la Rosa who is more likely to get the gig, possibly - according to Diario AS - dovetailing his racing duties with a continued testing role for the Silver Arrows.
Force India chairman and managing director Dr Vijay Mallya has revealed that he would be 'hard-pressed to ignore' the advice of McLaren in terms of drivers, and has refused to confirm whether either Sutil or 2008 team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella will be retained.
Whilst confessing his desire to return to action, de la Rosa insisted that for now his priority is to assist with the development of the new McLaren-Mercedes MP4-24.
"Of course, like all drivers, what I really want to do is to race," the 37-year-old told Spanish publication Sport, "[but] at the moment there is nothing to say." Yahoo! Sports
11/13/08 Nov.13 (GMM) Pedro de la Rosa has refused to comment on widespread speculation in Spanish newspapers that he is a leading candidate to race with the newly McLaren-Mercedes equipped Force India team in 2009.
But 37-year-old de la Rosa, who is McLaren's chief test driver, confirmed this week to the Spanish publication Sport that he would indeed like to return to the grid.
"Of course, like all drivers, what I really want to do is to race," said the Spaniard, who has contested 72 grands prix, most recently for McLaren in Brazil two years ago.
De la Rosa insisted, however, that his current task is to aid the development of McLaren's cars.
Referring to the speculation, he said from his home in Zurich: "At the moment, there is nothing to say."
He declined to comment at all to Diario AS, the newspaper that speculates that de la Rosa could split the Force India racing role with his McLaren test duties.
The Barcelona-born driver is expected to test for McLaren at Circuit de Catalunya next week.