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It's official: Fisichella, Sutil to lead Force India
January 10, 2008 21:46 IST
Renault discard Giancarlo Fisichella and highly-rated German Adrian Sutil will lead the Force India F1 while another Italian Viantonio Liuzzi will be its another test driver.
''It's a proud moment as an Indian has put a car with an Indian flag in the Formula One championship,'' Vijay Mallya [Images], owner of Force India F1 said in Mumbai on Thursday while unveiling the drivers team.
To a query as to why he did not consider any Indian driver, Mallya said, ''Narain Karthikeyan has just won his A1 GP race in China but he has long way to go. (In contrast), Karun Chandhok, by his own admission, needs to spend another year in GP2, which I think is fine with him.''
Mallya reiterated that the team had been set the target of a podium finish in 2010.
''India would host its first F1 GP in 2010 and we expect Force India to take its rightful place in the podium at that time,'' he said.
He said with the traction control removed, Formula One would see an increased role for the driver and the Fisichella-Sutil duo suits the team purpose perfectly.
''Sutil has lot of talents, while Fisichella brings in lot of experience. Fisichella is the kind of driver who can interact better with the engineers and that's why he is just the person we were looking for,'' Mallya said.
Fisichella also agreed to suggestion that removing traction control would make the contest little more even in the paddock.
''It would be much more interesting now. We have been spending too much of money to make the car fraction of a second faster. This would help the mid-field teams,'' he said.
Team Principle Colin Kolles said Mallya taking over the team had come as a motivation for the outfit.
''Vijay's arrival has motivated the entire team. With increased budget and a drivers' line-up like this, we now have better resource,'' he said.
Mallya revealed the budget for this year would be $ 120 million, compared to last year's $ 70 million but insisted money alone could not buy success.
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