Mallya Considers McLaren Test Drivers for 2009 Lineup

It seems that Toro Rosso are not the first team in the F1 paddock yet to make a decision concerning next year's lineup. Despite assuring both Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil that they will be retained as racing drivers for the upcoming season, Force India's Vijay Mallya revealed that no final decision has been made on the team's 2009 lineup.

“One McLaren test driver has already tested our car. They bring the McLaren experience with them. We haven't finalized anything on the race seat. I will discuss this issue with McLaren and take this decision at an appropriate time,” said Mallya, according to BBC News.

Mallya's comments do not come as a surprise to team's fans, especially since Force India will be using the McLaren Mercedes power plant, transmission and KERS unit in 2009. The Indian organization parted ways with Ferrari shortly after the season finale at Interlagos and secured a deal with Scuderia's rivals McLaren in mid-November.

However, McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh insisted his team will not interfere in any way with Force India's policy in terms of drivers' lineup.

“They are a partner, but although there will be a range of strident suggestions and recommendations, this team have to decide. It's in his hands. This isn't a takeover by McLaren,” had stated Whitmarsh a month ago, when announcing the McLaren-Force India deal.

Should Mallya decide to 'redesign' his team's lineup for 2009, he will more than likely have to pick between Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett. However, Mercedes' DTM driver Paul di Resta might also enter the equation, following several rumors linking him to Formula 1 this autumn. The British driver has done an exceptional job in his first year as official Mercedes driver inside the DTM, finishing runner-up in the German series.
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