Formula 1 Insight

Three Choices for Force India
Assuming that Adrian Sutil is a definite for Force India, the contest for the second seat seems to have come down to three, all experienced F1 drivers. This is one more sign that Vijay Mallya is serious about F1 and ambitious for the team; what it needs is a driver who can help in the development of the car and that is what he's looking for.

Christian Klien
Christian Klien

It is not a bad choice for any team owner to have, as well; Giancarlo Fisichella, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Christian Klien are all very competent. At the moment, it looks as though Fisichella is in with the best chance - his manager has been saying the right things about the team and seems very confident. As the most experienced of the three, Giancarlo would certainly give the team great depth of understanding of the game and be a good measure of young Sutil's performance.

Fizzy's reputation for speed and aggression has been almost non-existent in recent years but a new team (without the ghost of Alonso hovering in the background) might be just what he needs to rekindle the fires. I still remember some of the exceptional races he had in his early years when it seemed that he might be a future champion. Those hopes may have died now but he has impressed me with his determination to stay in the sport; some would have thrown in the towel after so ignominious a departure from Renault.

So Giancarlo would be a good and understandable choice - but what of the other two? Liuzzi never had a decent break in F1 and deserves another chance. I am convinced that he is quicker than most people think and the brief time he was partnered with Vettel at Toro Rosso was proof of this.

Sebastian Vettel's performance at the Race of Champions will have bolstered his reputation no doubt and I admit he does seem to have talent. But, looking at relative performances when everything else was equal, Liuzzi is as good, if not better. Add his experience and he looks a very good candidate for the Force India seat. The only problem is - I don't think he'll get it and Klien is the reason.

Klien was consistently the quickest of the drivers on the Force India test. He impressed them with both his speed and his attitude to the extent that I am slightly surprised that Fisichella is front runner for the job at the moment. If it was up to me, Klien is the guy I'd choose. Like Liuzzi, he never had a good shot at F1 but has soldiered on in the test role, awaiting another chance. He is eager and enthusiastic in a way that Fisichella isn't and has the edge on Liuzzi for experience too. That looks like a great combination to me.

But any of the three would do a good job for the team; it's a hard choice and, frankly, I wouldn't want to make it. A couple of them are going to go away disappointed, after all...


Fisico has been signed!! Checkout
Date Added: 17/12/2007

Maybe, maybe not, Uppili. Yes, Checkout Automoto says he has but GrandPrix dot com is not so sure. I'll wait for confirmation, I think. ;)
Date Added: 17/12/2007

Dan M
Are their any test roles for Luizzi to fill up? If he cant get one this year he certainly deserves something next year. The problem is there are not too many older drivers who need replacing.

I would have to imagine that DC is getting close to the end, although he seems not to age. Webber looks like he would be best changing teams unless a miracle happens this year and he finishes a race..... in first.

So without further ado, I am going to start the 2009 rumor mill!. This is about as far-fetched as they get: What if Luizzi goes back and tests for RBR. People who can actually recognize talent on Red Bull decide that he would be a good replacement for the retiring (forcefully) DC. And the execs in the Red Bull talent program live happily ever after.

Webber leaves to go to Toyota we're he can qualify at Mach speeds and then drift back in the races... in other words he will replace Trulli.

Alonso will be wearing red in 2009. He will be so P'ed off answering questions about why he was beaten by a rookie two years in a row.

Date Added: 17/12/2007

LOL Dan, you might not be far off with those predictions. DC has declared his willingness to race in NASCAR, surely an indication that he's thinking about retiring from F1, and Toyota will certainly looking to fill Trulli's shoes sooner or later. And everyone is talking about the potential for trouble between Alonso and Piquet in 2008.

The only problem I see is Liuzzi getting a test drive - I think all the spots are taken, unless Force India decide to have lots of test drivers - as usual.
Date Added: 17/12/2007

Alianora La Canta
Yup, Force India seem to be likely to have multiple testers again - after all one of them has to be Roldan Rodruigez due to contractual obligations, and I can't see him being a huge amount of help to the team in the short term. I'd go so far as to say whichever of the three gets the race seat, the other two will be offered test seats, and at least one of them would accept.

While I, too, am awaiting confirmation before getting too excited, I would be thrilled if Fisi got the race seat. He did very well in a similar situation at Jordan back in 2003, and he was faster than even Klien in the testing (apart from a run where Klien was allegedly running more rpm than Ferrari permitted).
Date Added: 17/12/2007

Pink Peril
And where will Ralf go? Ha Ha !

Maybe he'll join his ex team mate Montoya at NASCAR.

Out of the drivers they have to choose from, I think Fisi is probably the best choice in terms of performance. However, he is getting on in years & will undoubtedly look to retiring soon. If Force India (does anyone else just hate that name?) wants some stability in the team, they'd be better off going with one of the younger guys.
Date Added: 17/12/2007

Steven Roy
I read the interview with DC. He was very non-committal about NASCAR. He simply said he wouldn't rule it out but expressed concern about the upheaval in his life if he went there.

Given the testing restrictions in place being a test driver will offer limited opportunities. Teams having multiple test drivers now makes no sense other than for raising sponsorship.

Given that McLaren have lost Spanish sponsorship de laRosa may be on his way out. Paffett does not appear to have been seriously considered as an Alonso replacement so maybe there may be a test seat at McLaren.
Date Added: 17/12/2007

I was under the impression that Klien showed best in testing - didn't know about the Ferrari engine rev limit, I must admit. But I agree that Fizzy is a good choice - solid, dependable and quick enough too. However, there's no confirmation of the Checkout Automoto report as yet so I suspect it was just a journalist's guess.

Agreed too that test driving isn't exactly the busiest job in the world these days and would be a poor option for whoever gets offered it. But as for Gary Paffett, I think Martin Whitmarsh mentioned him as a possibility only a couple of days before they settled for Kovalainen. His time must come, surely.
Date Added: 18/12/2007

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