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GP Week : Issue 62
n MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi has admitted that he had been in talks with Ferrari about replacing Luca Badoer. 'The Doctor' eventually decided against pursuing a switch to F1 in the short term, as the in-season testing ban would have placed him at a severe disadvantage. n Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari took part on the KZ1 Karting World Cup at the weekend in Sarno, Italy. The 19-year old made it to the final, where he came home 23rd, behind former GP2 RDD driver Ben Hanley who ran home in 15th. The event was won by CRG's Jonathan Thonon. n Along with Lotus (see separate story), a mysterious group of Indian investors is also reportedly interested in purchasing the BMW F1 team. The group is allegedly interested in giving a seat to half-Indian, half-Swiss racer Neel Jani. n Former F1 racer Sebastien Bourdais made his first return to the top step of the podium since leaving ChampCar at the weekend, when he won the SuperLeague Super Final at Estoril on his race weekend debut in the football/motor racing cross-breed. n Rubens Barrichello's Mercedes engine has been passed as fit to race on despite a fire at the end of the Belgian Grand Prix. What remains less clear is how his gearbox fared in the blaze. n The Korea Auto Valley Operation have announced their plans for a 2010 Grand Prix are on course, and the track in the south western region of South Cholla province will be ready in time. Short Straights hor Stra Sor r ho tr r o t h S S St Sh Sh S S S AS had been widely expected following his outstanding performance at the Belgian Grand Prix, Giancarlo Fisichella has been con rmed as a Ferrari driver for the remainder of the 2009 season. The Italian, a veteran of 226 Grands Prix, will replace countryman Luca Badoer for the final five races of the year and will make his debut at this weekend's Italian Grand Prix infrontofwhatissuretobea rabid tifosi. As exclusively revealed in the last week's GPWeek, Ferrari has also confirmed that Fisichella will see out his F1 racing career with the team and will become their official test and reserve driver in 2010. "I chose Fisichella for several reasons, starting with the fact he deserves it, that he's on great form and that he is an expert driver," Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo said. "On top of that, we all wanted to have an Italian driver in our car for Monza and lastly, because it takes the long term view, as he will be our third driver [in 2010]. "It is an important moment, coming off the back of a great win with Kimi Raikkonen. We also have the good and important news that Felipe Massa is recovering well and will be more than ready for the first race of next season." Di Montezemolo's confirmation of Massa's readiness for a 2010 return came after the Brazilian underwent medical checks in Miami at the beginning of last week. The checks confirmed that while the Brazilian would not be fit to race in 2009, his rate of progress meant a potential comeback for the start of 2010 looks promising. Fisichella himself was overjoyed at being given the opportunity. "I'm in seventh heaven," he said on Ferrari's website. "I still can't believe it - that the dream of my life comes true, and I want to thank Ferrari and Chairman Luca di Montezemolo. "Over the last week some really incredible things happened to me: the pole position and then second place at Spa and now I'm called by Ferrari to race the last five races of the season for them. 'I'll give my best to recompense the Scuderia for this great opportunity they gave me: I know that it won't be easy, but I'll give it everything to gain the best possible results." He also thanked Force India for releasing his contract. "I am very grateful to Vijay Mallya for allowing me this opportunity to drive for the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team. "It is true that it has always been an ambition to do this, and for Vijay to have allowed it to become a reality is very generous." There has been much talk over the past days that Mallya's release of Fisichella to Ferrari is tied to reported moneys still owed by the Force India F1 Team to the Scuderia for their provision of engines during the 2008 season. While the debts to Ferrari are believed to exist, GPWeek understands that the Fisichella deal will have no impact on moneys owed. ALTHOUGH the team had made no announcement as GPWeek went live, it is widely expected that Tonio Liuzzi will take the vacant seat at Force India. The Italian has been the team's test/reserve driver in 2009 and, unless there is some factor which might bring in a driver from outside, is expected to step into the car this weekend. Fisi's dream nale a 6