2008 driver line-up almost set as Fisichella joins Force India

Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India, Jerez, 2007 | Peter J Fox / Crash Media GroupAnother piece in the 2008 driver line-up jigsaw puzzle has fallen into place. Giancarlo Fisichella, F1’s ‘nearly man’ for so many years, has returned to the back of the grid by signing for Force India.

Fisichella was dropped by Renault after his third season with the team in which he had once again failed to beat his team mate. Heikki Kovalainen got the better of him just as Fernando Alonso had in the previous two years.

For many season Fisichella was considered a quality driver deserving of a better car. But three years at Renault yielded just two wins (both of which on days when his team mate was compromised) – while Alonso bagged two championships.

Fisichella at least knows the Silverstone-based team well. He drove for them in 1997 when they were Jordan, before joining Benetton following a legal dispute between Flavio Briatore and Eddie Jordan. He returned from 2002-3 after being dropped by Renault (which had taken over Benetton). He tested for Force India in December.

Fisichella will partner Adrian Sutil and with Super Aguri expected to keep their 2007 line-up of Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson it means the F1 grid for 2008 is as good as set.

Alex Wurz joins Honda

Also announced today was Alex Wurz’s move to Honda. The Austrian, who stepped down from Williams one race before the final season, will be the team’s test and reserve driver.

This is another piece in an increasingly strong technical line-up at Honda. Wurz was a McLaren test driver from 2001-2005 and was very highly rated in the role. Honda signed former Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn at the end of the season to be its new team principal.

Fisichella’s fellow Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi, dropped by Scuderia Toro Rosso last year, is expected to be confirmed as Force India’s test driver.

Photo: Peter J Fox / Crash Media Group

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13 comments on 2008 driver line-up almost set as Fisichella joins Force India

  1. According to speculation of the Italian press, it also seems Liuzzi will be Force India test driver for 2008. But I prefer to wait for the official press-release…

  2. Especially since Force India itself isn’t dropping any handy hints yet. Not to worry – the suspense will be over at 7pm IST today, which I think is 1:30pm GMT.

  3. frecon said on 10th January 2008, 12:15

    Fisichella was mediocre with a good car.

    What he expects to do with a mediocre car?

  4. Number 38 said on 10th January 2008, 14:18

    Fisichella is better than his record might imply but my choice would have been Klien and Luizzi, Sutil as tester.

  5. Vertigo said on 10th January 2008, 16:58

    Fisichella has always been a good driver of crap cars and a crap driver of good cars, so he should be OK in the Force India.

  6. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 10th January 2008, 17:32

    Liuzzi has been confirmed as Force India’s test driver.

  7. Daniel PT said on 10th January 2008, 17:57

    I think i will bet in Sutil to trash Fisichella. Sutil is an upcoming driver and Fisichella is past his best years now. No good team will want Fisichella anymore after being badly beaten by 2 teamates in a team capable of winning the championship (unless last year).

  8. Carldec said on 10th January 2008, 18:29

    I totally agree Daniel… This should mark the end of Fisi. He has always been my least favorite driver on the grid. His mistakes, brain fades and poor strategic choises have allowed his teammates to outperform him. I would be willing to bet some pretty good money that he wont last the entire season.

  9. oliver said on 10th January 2008, 22:19

    These past few years at Renault have robbed Fisichella of his killer instincts and weened him of any ambition. I personally like him, but I cannot help but feel that his driving lately is more like a commute to work in morning traffic.

    Wurz as test and reserve driver? I thought he was not keen on racing in F1 anymore. But as a reserve driver, there exists the possibility of that happening.

  10. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 10th January 2008, 22:23

    Something in the abruptness of Wurz’s departure last year didn’t sit right with me. If he’d been planning to leave since the Canadian Grand Prix, why did he bother doing every race then quite before the last one?

    He’s joined Honda, a team with palpable potential and, since they’ve signed Brawn, an exciting prospect for the future. Rubens Barrichello isn’t going to keep racing much longer, one assumes, so maybe Wurz hasn’t ruled out a partial return?

  11. PinkPeril said on 10th January 2008, 22:53

    I must admit, the Wurz to Honda move was one I didn’t see coming. I had thought he was retiring from F1 altogether when he announced his resignation from Williams, so it does come as a suprise.

    As for Fisi, he seems to be taking the message to recycle a little to far……. ;)

  12. Vertigo said on 11th January 2008, 18:29

    Wurz’s move was unexpected, but then again money is a powerful motivator…
    Who was the Honda test driver before Klien, the one who went to Super Aguri as a reserve? I know its not really relevant but I can’t remember for the life of me. James something?

  13. Mallya deserves a boatload of kudos for not signing Karthikayan, and going with a veteran and rookie driver lineup, both with potential to offer. Fisi may be past his prime but having a vet on board is still a benefit. I’d have bet my last rupee that Karth would have a seat at Force India, much as Sato was given a seat at Super Aguri.

    And Wurz at Honda? Whoda thunk it??????

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