Fisichella lands race seat with Sutil at Force India

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The Independent Online

Force India Formula One team named the Italian Giancarlo Fisichella to complete their driver line-up for the 2008 season. Fisichella, who had a disappointing 2007 at Renault, will team up with Germany's Adrian Sutil, who was a rookie last year with the Spyker team that Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya bought into and renamed.

"He is somebody who has raced with the best in the business," Mallya said yesterday. Fisichella, 35 on Monday, has had 194 races and is expected to bring some much-needed experience as well as technical feedback to the Ferrari-powered team in what is likely to be his swansong at the highest level. Fisichella has won three F1 races and his highest championship placing was fourth in 2006. He finished eighth last season.

"The experience and ability to assist the engineering team was a key requirement," Mallya said. The team also named Fisichella's compatriot Vitantonio Liuzzi as the test and reserve driver. Liuzzi raced for Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso in 2007, but has been replaced there by France's four-times ChampCar champion Sebastien Bourdais.

Fisichella said he was confident of making a good start. "Contrary to what people may think, this was not my only opportunity, it was the best one," he said.