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DATE News (chronologically)
08/29/09
f1
Fisi concedes 'rumors' about Force India health  UPDATE #2 (GMM)  Vijay Mallya on Saturday played down rumors about the health of his formula one team Force India.

Paradoxically for the Indian billionaire, the reports of financial problems for his Silverstone-based outfit coincided with a shock pole position for his driver Giancarlo Fisichella at Spa-Francorchamps.

The Force India team celebrated the historic feat in the Belgian paddock on Saturday, but they are housed this weekend in a former MotoGP motor home, amid rumors their grander paddock presence stayed away for fear of disgruntled unpaid creditors.

It is also rumored that Mallya is reconsidering his investment in F1 at present, due to the downturn in business in his core airline and alcohol companies.

"There must be a lot of wrong information around," he is quoted as saying by F1's official website, arguing that the beer and spirits industry is actually thriving.

As for his airline, he insisted that "my finances do not depend on the airline and neither do Force India's finances depend on the performance of any of my companies".

"Force India is securely funded and I am committed to stay here as everybody knows," Mallya added.

08/29/09 (GMM)  Vijay Mallya on Saturday said he had nothing to add to suggestions Force India driver Giancarlo Fisichella is set to leave the team.

Following the Roman veteran's shock pole at Spa-Francorchamps, speculation he will now replace the struggling Luca Badoer at Ferrari as from the forthcoming Italian grand prix hit an even higher gear.

"Everybody here is asking me the same question," Force India owner and boss Mallya said in the Belgian paddock on Saturday.

"It's nothing but a media speculation," the Indian billionaire added.  "Neither Ferrari approached me, not Giancarlo told me anything about such a thing.  I cannot comment on a media speculation," said Mallya.

Badoer, filling in for the injured Felipe Massa after Michael Schumacher pulled out also due to injury, qualified dead last for the second time in succession and also crashed on Saturday.

But although Ferrari is to contemplate its options ahead of Monza, the 38-year-old Italian would dearly love a third chance to shine in front of his own countrymen.

"Monza is my home track.  It's the track where I have spent most time in my life.  So for sure I can make a big step there," he told reporters at Spa.

A strong race on Sunday is his best hope of convincing Ferrari bosses to leave him at the wheel of the number 3.

"We will see tomorrow, though it's not that we are talking whether I will be there (at Monza) or not," Badoer explained.  "I am sure that with more races I can improve."

He believes the timing of Massa's injuries makes it the worst possible moment for a test driver to step into a race seat.

"Two years ago I was driving the car so much and there was not so much difference compared with the race driver," said Badoer.  "Unfortunately you cannot chose everything in life."

08/29/09 (GMM)  Giancarlo Fisichella on Saturday said he hopes his pole position for the Belgian grand prix "helps" Force India amid "rumors" about the team's future.

An Italian journalist after qualifying at Spa-Francorchamps asked Fisichella, 36, to comment on paddock speculation that Silverstone based Force India is beset by financial trouble that might affect its plans for 2010.

"Well yes, there are a lot of rumors about that but for sure being on pole helps any team, so I hope it's a good help," the Roman driver said in Belgium.

Despite the speculation about a temporary fill-in drive at Ferrari, Fisichella's own future is also in doubt, with Vitantonio Liuzzi expected to step into his race seat next season.

"I didn't have any contact with other teams and I still haven't spoken to Force India about next year but today is something that is good to go ahead for the future," he said.

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