This week saw testing for Force India. It also saw Pedro De Larosa test for the team and there have been suggestions that McLaren is recommending two other of their driver in Gary Paffett and Giorgio Pantano.With the ink still drying on the new McLaren-Force India deal, McLaren has already ‘recommened’ new drivers and Vijay has back peddled on his previous statement that the driver line up would remain the same for 2009.
Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil have both made statements this week concerning their position in the team and the threat, percieved or real, from McLaren’s stable of drivers testing the Force India cars.
“I’m not worried, I don’t think there will be any problem for me,” Fisichella told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I have a signed contract for another year and Vijay Mallya has announced that the 2009 drivers will still be myself and Sutil.”
“It doesn’t worry me at all,” said Sutil. “He’s a nice guy. He came from McLaren just to have an idea about the car, and everything else we will see in the next weeks, months or in the future.
“I feel safe for myself. The team is happy with my performance and I have my contract here. So I don’t have anything to worry about.”
Maybe this is is really a non-issue and McLaren are lending their drivers to the car to get an idea of where FIF1 stands in performance and handling prior to helping them with aero, chassis and engine supplies next year. It may very well be part of a process and not a driver replacement program for legacy McLaren carbon jockeys to find a second life in F1. Then again, Pedro isn’t talking that way:
“Whatever comes, it will come. My job is to test with McLaren and I’m very grateful for having tested a Force India,” the Spanish told the EFE news agency.
“It has been two very intense days and I tested a million things. My experience tells me I can’t rush things or build my hopes up.”