Thursday, September 3, 2009

Giancarlo Fisichella joins Ferrari for remainder of the Formula One season

Giancarlo Fisichella has signed for Ferrari for the remainder of the Formula One season after being released from his current contract with Force India. Fisichella will replace Luca Badoer as team-mate to Kimi Raikkonen for the final five races, starting with the Italian Grand Prix on September 13. "It is true this has always been an ambition," Fisichella said. "I am very grateful to [Force India owner] Vijay Mallya for allowing me this opportunity to drive for Ferrari. "I hope in 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." Standing-in for the recuperating Felipe Massa, Badoer endured a torrid time in the European and Belgian Grands Prix, leaving Ferrari with no alternative but to seek another driver. Explaining his decision to release Fisichella, Mallya said: "Giancarlo and his management team approached me yesterday with the proposal from Ferrari. "For any Italian driver, a Ferrari race seat is a long-held dream, and for Giancarlo it was no exception. No-one should stand in the way of this. "Furthermore the agreement will secure Giancarlo's long-term future with Ferrari and it would be incorrect to jeopardise this, particularly when Giancarlo has made such a vital contribution to Force India." Mallya dismissed speculation a deal for Fisichella had been agreed with Ferrari in return for money apparently still owed for engines used last season. "We would like to stress we have not agreed any financial settlement with Ferrari," Mallya said. "This agreement has been made in good faith and for the good of Giancarlo and the sport in general. "A competitive Italian driver in a Ferrari for Monza is a positive story for Formula One, which can only help raise the sport's profile in these difficult times. We would like to thank Giancarlo for all his help over the past one and a half seasons, and for delivering us our first world championship points last weekend. "He has been an integral part of the team and we owe him a great deal for his input behind the scenes and performance out on track. We wish him all the best for the future." Source : Times Online

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