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Fisichella sees Force India as a new test
January 16, 2008 18:42 IST
Italian Giancarlo Fisichella said he joined the Force India Formula One team because he liked a challenge.
"I had other options at the end of the last season. (But) this was the best," the Italian, who drove for former champions Renault for the past three seasons, said after Force India confirmed their lineup.
"It is a young team and I believe in the project," he added. "It is a new challenge for me. And I like it when there is a challenge."
Fisichella will partner German driver Adrian Sutil, who was a rookie last year at the Spyker team that Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya [Images] bought into and renamed.
Fisichella, who turns 35 on Monday, has 194 races under his belt and is expected to bring some much-needed experience as well as technical feedback during his two-year contract with the Ferrari-powered team.
His compatriot Vitantonio Liuzzi was named the test and reserve driver. Liuzzi raced for Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso in 2007 but has been replaced there by France's [Images] four-times ChampCar champion Sebastien Bourdais.
"Two young drivers and a few young engineers. So I think my experience will help them," said Fisichella, who has won three races in an eventful 12-year career with a highest championship placing of fourth in 2006. He finished eighth last season.
"But obviously we need to work together. We need collaboration. We need to push in the wind tunnel and mechanical department. I need to be at my optimum to push them," he added.
Fisichella won his first race with Jordan, Force India's now-defunct predecessors, in 2003 during his second stint with the team and said this felt like a homecoming.
"I feel comfortable to be back in a family. I still see a few mechanics working here since 1997. When I went for the first test, everything was familiar to me. That's very important for a driver," he said.
Co-owner Mallya said he chose his drivers carefully because the team also needed to learn.
"It isn't as if we have a car that is the most competitive car, a car that the engineering team knows it all," he told a news conference where he stated that his team's objective was to be on the podium when India hosts their first-ever F-1 grand prix in 2010.
Fisichella was impressed by Sutil's skills.
"He is good driver... He has got good speed. Together we can do something."