Another piece in the 2008 driver line-up jigsaw puzzle has fallen into place. Giancarlo Fisichella, F1’s ‘nearly man’ for so many years, has returned to the back of the grid by signing for Force India.
Fisichella was dropped by Renault after his third season with the team in which he had once again failed to beat his team mate. Heikki Kovalainen got the better of him just as Fernando Alonso had in the previous two years.
For many season Fisichella was considered a quality driver deserving of a better car. But three years at Renault yielded just two wins (both of which on days when his team mate was compromised) – while Alonso bagged two championships.
Fisichella at least knows the Silverstone-based team well. He drove for them in 1997 when they were Jordan, before joining Benetton following a legal dispute between Flavio Briatore and Eddie Jordan. He returned from 2002-3 after being dropped by Renault (which had taken over Benetton). He tested for Force India in December.
Fisichella will partner Adrian Sutil and with Super Aguri expected to keep their 2007 line-up of Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson it means the F1 grid for 2008 is as good as set.
Alex Wurz joins Honda
Also announced today was Alex Wurz’s move to Honda. The Austrian, who stepped down from Williams one race before the final season, will be the team’s test and reserve driver.
This is another piece in an increasingly strong technical line-up at Honda. Wurz was a McLaren test driver from 2001-2005 and was very highly rated in the role. Honda signed former Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn at the end of the season to be its new team principal.
Fisichella’s fellow Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi, dropped by Scuderia Toro Rosso last year, is expected to be confirmed as Force India’s test driver.
Photo: Peter J Fox / Crash Media Group
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