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GP Week : Issue 33
Force India to stick with drivers? FORCE India Owner Vijay Mallya has told journalists that he intends to keep both Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil on board at his team in 2009. Mallya was relatively short and to the point when questioned on the subject, stating simply: “I have made it really clear that I am quite happy with Adrian and Giancarlo and they will continue with us in 2009.” This hasn’t stopped the rumour mill from rotating, however, as it has been reported that Force India tester Tonio Liuzzi may have a clause in his contract promising him a race drive with the team in 2009. It is unlikely that either Fisichella or Sutil will have fulfilled performance clauses, should they exist in their contracts, as neither has scored a point this season, and so should the rumoured clause exist for Liuzzi’s race seat the team may yet change its line- up. Fisichella’s performance in particular, and when taken in relation to Sutil’s, has also tailed off significantly in recent races. What is perhaps most telling is that Mallya did not say that Sutil and Fisichella would be racing for Force India in 2009, but would merely “continue with us.” With no official confirmation of race driver line- up, that small but important use of language may yet leave room for change and see one current racer revert to a testing role. Mallya did confirm that the negotiations with Mercedes and McLaren over a supply deal for the 2009 were serious and ongoing as Ferrari continues to struggle with its KERS development. “I have been in discussion ADVERTISE in GPWEEK to access a huGE global audience with Mercedes as well as with my current suppliers, Ferrari, because I have decided that we want a complete drive- train which includes the most important KERS package. So that’s our requirement and we can’t do without any one component. So negotiations continue and I’m hoping that we will be able to finalise something sooner rather than later because we need to finish this season, get on with testing and be prepared for significantly improved performance by the team in 2009.”