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Schumacher, Fisichella and Montagny to test for Force India 28 Nov 2007

Giedo van der Garde (NED) Force India F1. Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, 13 November 2007. World © Hartley/Sutton (L to R): Ralf Schumacher (GER) Toyota with Michiel Mol (NED) Spyker and Dr Vijay Mallya (IND) CEO Kingfisher.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 8 September 2007 Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault on the grid
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Brazilian Grand Prix, Race Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, 21 October 2007 Christian Klien (AUT) Force India Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, 15 November 2007. World © Bumstead/Sutton Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Force India Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, 13 November 2007. World © Bumstead/Sutton

Ralf Schumacher, Giancarlo Fisichella and Franck Montagny are set to drive for Force India next week at the multi-team test at Jerez, as the former Spyker team continue to ponder their 2008 drive line-up.

The trio will be in action at the Spanish track alongside the squad’s contracted testers Roldan Rodriguez and Giedo van der Garde and former Red Bull team mates Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi, who tested for the team at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya earlier this month.

Schumacher, who left Toyota at the end of last season, is currently looking for a race seat for 2008. The German, who has won six Grands Prix during his 11-year career, was offered the opportunity to test by Force India co-owner Dr Vijay Mallya.

“I have known Vijay for many years over my time with Toyota,” said the 32 year-old. “I fully understand his passion for the sport and know that he will put this drive into Force India to make it a success. For any driver, driving for a young dynamic team with high ambitions is a good opportunity, but at the moment it is just one test to see how we get on working together, and whether this is possible. I think I can help the team with its development programme but we will see.”

Fisichella, who has driven for Renault for the past three seasons, has been given the chance to test for Force India by the French squad, who have yet to confirm their 2008 line-up. The Italian, who made his debut for Minardi in 1996, is one of the grid’s most experienced drivers and has scored three Grands Prix wins.

“Whilst no drivers have been officially confirmed by Renault, the team has given me permission to explore other options,” explained the 34 year-old. “I was invited to test with Force India F1 Team at Jerez and I was very happy to accept it.”

Montagny, meanwhile, spent last season testing for Toyota. The Frenchman, who raced in six Grands Prix for Super Aguri in 2006, left the Japanese team earlier this month.

“I was in contact with Vijay Mallya from my time at Toyota,” explained Montagny. “Towards the end of the year we talked about the future and I heard about the possibility of testing with Force India. Of course I was very tempted as I am sure that with the new owners, the team will be very strong.”

During the four-day test, Force India will run two Ferrari-powered former Spyker F8-VII chassis, which will be painted with a distinctive interim burgundy red and white livery. Fisichella and Montagny will split driving duties on the opening day of the test, December 4, before handing over the two cars to their colleagues.