Fisichella’s dream drive for Ferrari

Following Giancarlo Fisichella’s impressive performance at the Belgian Grand Prix, in which the 36-year-old qualified the Force India VJM02 on pole position and then recording the best-ever result for the team with a second place finish, Scuderia Ferrari have called for the service of the popular Italian for the upcoming Grand Prix in Monza.

Giancarlo will race alongside Kimi Raikkonen for the rest of the season as a replacement driver for the lacklustre Luca Badoer, who struggled in the previous two races.

Speaking at Maranello on Thursday, having met team principal Stefano Domenicali and other Ferrari personnel to discuss plans for the Italian Grand Prix, Fisichella was clearly overjoyed at the turn of events – which comes almost 14 years after he tested a Ferrari 412 T2 on September 27, 1995 at Fiorano.

“I’m in seventh heaven,” Fisichella told the official Ferrari website. “I still can’t believe it – that the dream of my life comes true, and I want to thank Ferrari and Chairman Luca di Montezemolo.

“Over the last week some really incredible things happened to me: the pole position and then second place at Spa and now I’m called by Ferrari to race the last five races of the season for them.

“I’ll give my best to recompense the Scuderia for this great opportunity they gave me: I know that it won’t be easy, but I’ll give it everything to gain the best possible results.”

Domenicali said he had thought long and hard before opting for Fisichella, and were keen for the Italian to have a long-term relationship with the team.

“We chose Giancarlo, because we think that he can make a significant contribution in terms of points during the finale of this uncertain season,” he explained.

“Furthermore we considered what could be his role inside the team in the near future, also taking this year’s experiences into account. He will be the reserve driver in 2010.

“I want to thank Vijay Mallya and Force India F1 for giving Giancarlo the possibility to cancel his contract in such a happy moment for the team, allowing him to crown his dream as a driver.

“Now we have to concentrate on Monza, an event we really care for in a very special way: we know that it will be difficult to keep the performance level we had over the last Grands Prix, but we’ll give our best to entertain our fans and I hope there will be lots of them at the track to support us.”

Fisichella’s appointment comes at the expense of Luca Badoer, who failed to shine during his two-race outing for the team. Although happy about his own position, Fisichella expressed some sympathy for the plight of his fellow Italian.

“I want to say that I’m very sorry for Luca,” said Fisichella. “I know how much he cared to race in Monza behind the wheel of a Ferrari, because this is the best thing that can happen to an Italian driver, to drive a red car in front of our fans.”

As to who will be racing in the Force India, step forward Vitantonia Liuzzi. The 28-year-old last raced in Formula One for the Toro Rosso team back in 2007, with a sixth place in the Chinese Grand Prix his best result. This new opportunity has come at the perfect time for the Italian as he been on the sidelines no thanks to the limited testing this season. Let’s see if the two Italian drivers will produce the goods in their home race at Monza.

3 thoughts to “Fisichella’s dream drive for Ferrari”

  1. Giancarlo Fisichella has thanked his former Force India team for agreeing to release him from his contract so he can achieve his lifetime ambition and race for Ferrari.

    Fisichella is being slotted in alongside Kimi Raikkonen for the remainder of the 2009 season now that Felipe Massa will not be fit enough to return until next year.

    Speaking about his move, Fisichella said: “I am very grateful to Vijay Mallya for allowing me this opportunity to drive for the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team.

    “It is true that it has always been an ambition to do this, and for Vijay to have allowed it to become a reality is very generous.

    “I hope in my turn I have helped Force India grow up and be on the right path to achieve their own ambitions. They are now a very competitive team and I wish them all the very best.”

    Fisichella’s switch to Ferrari comes on the back of him delivering Force India’s best result in F1, with pole position and second place in the Belgian Grand Prix.


  2. The Force India team has confirmed reserve driver Vitantonio Liuzzi will replace Giancarlo Fisichella from the Italian Grand Prix this weekend.

    Fisichella left the team last week to drive for Ferrari, and it was expected Liuzzi would take his compatriot’s place at the Silverstone-based squad.

    “I’m delighted to give Tonio the opportunity to get back into a race seat, which I know he has been itching to do for the past two years,” said team boss Vijay Mallya.

    “Force India is now in a very competitive position and we need a driver who can continue this momentum. This will be the chance for Tonio to demonstrate to both the team and the field that he has the commitment, speed and professionalism to perform and I am sure he will seize this opportunity.”

    Twenty-eight year-old Liuzzi last raced in Formula 1 at the end of the 2007 season, and has not tested grand prix machinery since November.

    The Italian, however, is optimistic he will be able to do a good job to continue with Force India’s impressive form.

    “I can’t wait to get back into the car in race trim, particularly at my home Grand Prix in Monza,” he said. “I really appreciate the opportunity Vijay has given me, particularly now Force India has a great car that’s performing very well.

    “I am confident I can carry on our progress. I’m very motivated, I’m in good shape and hungry to get some more points on the board.

    “Although it’s unfortunate that this came about as an direct result of Felipe’s accident, this is my opportunity to show people what I can do and I’m really looking forward to it.”


  3. Vitantonio Liuzzi is convinced he will be on the pace right away when he returns to Formula 1 action at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.

    The Italian driver has been named to replace Giancarlo Fisichella at the Force India team, after the Roman was confirmed at Ferrari to partner Kimi Raikkonen in the remaining races of the season.

    Liuzzi has not raced an F1 car since 2007, and has only tested this year’s machine on a proper circuit briefly several months ago.

    But the 28-year-old conceded he is not worried about lacking pace at Monza this weekend, and he feels he will be up to speed quickly.

    “I think I’m ready to jump in the car because I kept myself really fit, and the work we’ve been doing is helping me a lot to keep me sharp,” said Liuzzi. “Monza will be perfect because it’s a good from a physical approach.

    “Singapore would have been tougher, because I don’t know the circuit, and everyone complained last year that it was very physical.

    “The speed doesn’t concern me, I think we’ll be straight away close to the pace. I’m more than fit than ever.”

    He added: “Monza is one of the most historic races of the entire championship, and it’s in Italy. The vibe that is in Monza is great, and when I won there in F3000 in 2004 it was an unbelievable feeling. You just need to see the surroundings of the circuit. In the end you are in a forest, and you are driving at 330km/h in the middle of the trees.

    “The park makes it really special. When you walk around and see the old banking it’s really nice, you really feel the history there.”

    Although Liuzzi said he has felt very much a part of the team over the past two years, the Italian admitted he was missing racing.

    “I feel very much involved with the team and with the improvements we made,” he said. “A lot of the developments have been made with the wind tunnel and I’m very happy that the team is moving forward and we are doing a great job. For sure in Spa it was a bit of a dream for us to be on pole position! But it’s been a difficult year because it’s been my second year as a third driver.

    “I think I’m born for racing, and in the end it’s difficult to watch the races on TV. But inside myself I was pretty confident that I’d be back in a race seat soon, and it kept me motivated for the future. I was ready to jump in the car whenever I was needed.”


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