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Force India Confirm Fisichella and Sutil, End Speculation

Force India have ended speculation concerning their drivers' lineup for 2009, retaining Italian Giancarlo Fisichella and German Adrian Sutil as race drivers, while also extending Vitantonio Liuzzi's test-driver deal. Although the trio was already confirmed – not officially, though – by Vijay Mallya, some of his recent comments have given the impression that the Indian outfit might be turning to McLaren's test drivers for their new lineup.

“I firmly believe that next year will be a huge opportunity for this team. We have a new technical partnership with McLaren and Mercedes, a dynamic new management structure and now one of the most solid driver line-ups on the grid.”

“We certainly welcomed the insight and advice of our new partners in this matter, however the choice was entirely ours based on the current talent available in the market today. In Giancarlo, Adrian and Tonio we have a wonderful balance between experience and ambition, and now complete consistency,” said Mallya yesterday.

Following some recent testing that 'one of the McLaren test drivers' has done for Force India, the media started speculating on the possibility that the Woking-based team might 'interfere' with the team's decisional process in terms of lineup setup for 2009. McLaren's Gary Paffett and Mercedes' works driver in the DTM Paul di Resta were credited with the biggest chances of being offered a racing deal in F1 starting next year.

However, Mallya insisted that keeping the same lineup for the upcoming season would insure continuity of team's racing programme.

With Force India officially confirming its drivers' lineup for 2009, it's now down to Scuderia Toro Rosso to complete the F1 roaster for the upcoming season. The Faenza-based team has recently tested 3 drivers for their 2 vacant racing seats – Sebastien Buemi, Takuma Sato and Sebastien Bourdais – and are expected to make their final decision by New Year's Eve.
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