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Fisichella, Sutil, Liuzzi confirmed at Force India 10 Jan 2008

(L to R): Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Force India F1, Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1, Vijay Mallya (IND) CEO Kingfisher, Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Force India F1 and Dr Colin Kolles (GER) Force India Team Principal. Force India Driver Announcement, Mumbai, India, 10 January 2008. © Force India F1 Vijay Mallya (IND) CEO Kingfisher. Force India Driver Announcement, Mumbai, India, 10 January 2008. © Force India F1 Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Force India F1. Force India Drivers in Mumbai, Mumbai, India, 10 January 2008. © Force India F1

Giancarlo Fisichella will join Adrian Sutil to form Force India’s 2008 race line-up, it was confirmed on Thursday. In addition, Vitantonio Liuzzi has been signed as the team’s test and reserve driver.

“The Force India Formula One Team is a serious project and we wanted to make a statement to this effect with our driver line-up,” commented the team’s chairman and managing director Dr Vijay Mallya. “Money is not the issue now: we need drivers who will push the team and give us direction.

“The race line-up of Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil is a very good one, balancing both speed and experience, and Tonio will provide the team with solid support in his testing programme. I think we have a very strong driver line-up for 2008.”

Sutil was expected to retain his seat after racing for the team in their former guise as Spyker last season. However, there had been much speculation over who would join the German, after the team tested a whole host of drivers in December, including Fisichella, Liuzzi, Ralf Schumacher and Christian Klien.

Fisichella’s signing means he will start his 13th season of Formula One racing, having been dropped by Renault at the end of last season. The Italian is no stranger to his new team, having previously driven for them back in their Jordan days and bringing them their last win at the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix.

“I am looking forward to joining Force India for the coming season,” said the 34 year-old. “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.

“Contrary to what people may think, this was not my only opportunity, it was the best one - with new owners and a competitive budget, I really think we can shake things up next year. I feel motivated and ready to help Force India get points on a regular basis.”

Fellow Italian Liuzzi raced for Toro Rosso last season, but lost his seat for 2008 to incoming Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais. The 27 year-old made his Formula One debut back in 2003 when he tested for Williams. He contested four Grands Prix for Red Bull Racing in 2005 before joining Toro Rosso the following year.

“I am very pleased to be able to help Force India in their testing and development programme this year,” Liuzzi said. “With increased resources there will be much more input and emphasis into the team's testing, and the test driver's role will be crucial to helping progress. I know I can play a big part in the team as it grows, which is a good opportunity for me going forward.”