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GP Week : 29-Apr-2008
ADRIAN Sutil’s position at Force India remains secure, despite another very early race exit. Paddock rumours have claimed that his race seat may be under threat from test driver ‘Tonio Liuzzi. However, team owner Dr Vijay Mallya made it clear that the German’ position was absolutely solid: “Adrian is a great guy and a great driver. He’s not had the best luck in the world, but that’s Formula 1. I don’t blame him for it, and there’s no question in my mind. I’m not making any changes.” Mallya welcomed Force India F1 Team’s best ever result after Giancarlo Fisichella brought his car home just outside the points in 10th position. “I said when I bought the team that this would be a huge challenge,” he told GPWeek. “This team’s performance over the last few years has been very average and we have been virtually driving around at the back. Formula 1 has never been so competitive. I think the 2008 season has shown that even a tenth of a second can mean three places, so it’s really competitive and in the context to be able to show some solid progress, we’re clearly moving in the right direction. “It would be overly optimistic for me to think that in the first five races we’re going to score points. If we do it’s great, but if we don’t I’m not disappointed. I’m interested in seeing sustainable progress.” Mallya confirmed that while the team was focussed on 2009, it had put in place a development process which he hopes will help to move the squad further up the grid in 2008. “We have three different wind tunnels running and technical support from EADS and Airbus group, so there is a lot of resource at work here. These have been divided up into the 2009 programme and the 2008 programme. We had a lot of catching up to do in 2008. We still have a long way to go, but hopefully there will be more and more improvement as the season progresses. I’m very hopeful that we will produce a very competitive car in 2009.” Force India’s Fortunes: Sutil survives, Fisi flies Sutil safe despite another early shower, while Giancarlo scores the team’s best finish 24