Force India debuts with Australian Grand Prix
Fisichella, Sutil will hold the steering of Force India
India's own Formula1 team dream will come up to reality when debutant Force India team will line up on the grid of 2008 season opener Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne on March 16.
Liquor baron Vijay Mallya took over the Spyker Formula One team and soon made it Force India by giving it a great shape. Whatever Mallya does, he does it in style, be it his annual calendar or the launching of his any product.
The same goes with the much-awaited line-up of the Force India team. The drivers were unveiled at a packed and grandiose press conference here on Thursday. All the three drivers Giancarlo Fisichella, Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi, who will lead the Indian campaign in the F1 circuit, came out of the helmet-shaped structure on the dais in unique fashion.
Experienced hand and former Renault driver Giancarlo Fisichella will drive a billion Indian dreams over the coming F1 season. German Adrian Sutil would join the Italian. Another Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi will carry out testing duties as the third driver for the team.
Announcing the line-up Mallya said, "Today is a proud moment for me personally and am sure many here will share this pride. I am happy to put an Indian car on the F1 track."
"We are not underestimating the challenges in front of us. We know the spotlight is on us. We won't have any miracles in 2008. But we will go in that direction‚??. In 2010, when India hosts a Grand Prix, Force India will surely get a podium finish. With these drivers and a team principal like Colin Kolles, we will chart out where we are heading, Mallya added.
"It was felt that Formula One was considered an elitist sport and completely out of reach for a developing nation like us considering its budget, expenses and the glitz and glamour. But with me heading a large company in India, the Tata Group acquiring Corus and Jaguar are instances of showing to the world that not only is India globally competitive but we are technologically advanced too," Mallya stated.
‚??I am looking forward to joining Force India for the coming season. At the test in Jerez, I was very impressed with the team's professionalism and commitment to move forward and I hope that my experience will help them achieve these goals,‚?? Force India main driver Fisichella said.
New recruit Fisichella will bring 12 years of F1 experience to the team following stints at Minardi, Force India's predecessors Jordan, Benetton, Sauber and most lately Renault. With three wins, three pole positions and 267 points to his credit, Fisichella is one of the most successful drivers on the current F1 grid.
On the choices of drivers and no Indian making the cut despite having good record in the international circuit, Mallya straightway said, "I have known Narain very well for many years. Currently, he is doing the A1 Grand Prix. He did win in China but I think it's a long way off on what I am looking at.‚??
"Before you ask me about Karun Chandhok, let me tell you that Karun is a like a son to me. And by his own admission, he still needs another year in GP2. More importantly, our engineering team should benefit from our drivers choice. We needed to select drivers to suit the purpose and no Indian fit the bill," added Mallya.
Mallya has taken the stakes of Force India to $120 million as compared to Spyker's $70 million spent last year. "It is almost same with other teams but I firmly believe that money cannot buy performance," opined Mallya.
2008 FIA Formula1 World Championship Race Calendar
- 2008 FORMULA 1 ING Australian Grand Prix (Melbourne) 14 - 16 Mar
- 2008 FORMULA 1 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix (Kuala Lumpur) 21 - 23 Mar
- 2008 FORMULA 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix (Bahrain) 04 - 06 Apr
- FORMULA 1 Gran Premio de Espana Telefonica 2008 (Catalunya) 25 - 27 Apr
- 2008 FORMULA 1 Petrol Osifi Turkish Grand Prix (Istanbul) 09 - 11 May
- FORMULA 1 Grand Prix de Monaco 2008 (Monte Carlo) 22 - 25 May
- FORMULA 1 Grand Prix du Canada 2008 (Montreal) 06 - 08 Jun
- FORMULA 1 Grand Prix de France 2008 (Magny-Cours) 20 - 22 Jun
- 2008 FORMULA 1 Santander British Grand Prix (Silverstone) 04 - 06 Jul
- FORMULA 1 Grosser Preis von Deutschland 2008 (Hockenheim) 18 - 20 Jul
- FORMULA 1 Magyar Nagydij 2008 (Budapest) 01 - 03 Aug
- 2008 FORMULA 1 Grand Prix of Europe (Valencia) 22 - 24 Aug
- 2008 FORMULA 1 ING Belgian Grand Prix (Spa-Francorchamps) 05 - 07 Sep
- FORMULA 1 Gran Premio Santander d'italia 2008 (Monza) 12 - 14 Sep
- 2008 FORMULA 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix (Singapore) 26 - 28 Sep
- 2008 FORMULA 1 Fuji Japanese Grand Prix (Fuji Speedway) 10 - 12 Oct
- 2008 FORMULA 1 Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix (Shanghai) 17 - 19 Oct
- FORMULA 1 Grande Premio do Brasil 2008 (Sao Paulo) 31 Oct - 02 Nov
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