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Mercedes to Impose Own Drivers in Force India Lineup

Mercedes might not have had a saying in setting up this year's driver lineup for Force India, but the likelihood of the German manufacturer doing it in the near future is quite strong. In an interview for DNA India, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Director Norbert Haug admitted his company may proceed to securing an F1 drive for their own racing talents through Vijay Mallya's outfit.

Asked if Mercedes will interfere with Force India's driver-naming policy, Haug revealed: “Not now, but this could mutually be developed as an option for the future. For now we prefer to make one step at a time.”

Through the offseason, and especially following last year's testing in December, there were several rumors linking Mercedes' DTM works drivers Paul di Resta and Gary Paffett (both British drivers) to a driving role with Force India. The rumors started when the Indian outfit invited McLaren's test driver Pedro de la Rosa to test their 2008-spec car during the Barcelona meeting in mid-November.

However, Mallya was the first to dismiss the allegations, as he quickly confirmed both Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella for the 2009 season. He also retained Italy's Vitantonio Liuzzi as test driver through the next season.

Force India began partnership with McLaren-Mercedes shortly after the end of the 2008 season, with the German manufacturer becoming engine supplier for the Silverstone-based team. In addition, Mercedes will also provide Force India with a new gearbox, hydraulic system and Kinetic Energy Recovery System for 2009.

In 2008, it was Ferrari who supplied Force India with a functional power train. However, the Scuderia was never involved in the team's decisional process when it came to naming their race drivers last year.
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