Force India retain drivers

Chennai, Nov 27 ( The Force India team have retained Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi as their drivers for the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship.

While Sutil drove for Force India for the entire 2009 season, Liuzzi was brought in as replacement for Giancarlo Fisichella who moved to Ferrari to stand in for an injured Felippe Massa for the last five races.

Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal, said in a statement: “We are very pleased to retain the services of both Adrian and Tonio for another season. We have always maintained that consistency is key at this stage in the team’s development and for the first time in many years we will have the continuity of not only the same drivers, but also the same engine and senior management.”

“With this stability now in place, I truly believe we have an excellent platform to build on and move forward on our strong 2009 performance. I am sure we have one of the most dynamic line-ups on the grid and I hope this will stand us in good stead in what we hope will be a transitional year for the team.”

The 2010 season will be Sutil’s fourth in Formula 1. The 26-year-old German started his F1 career with Force India’s predecessors, Midland, as a test and reserve driver in 2006 before graduating to a race seat with Spyker in 2007. In 2009, he recorded his best-ever F1 finish of fourth at the Italian Grand Prix, also securing his first front row start.

Liuzzi retains his race seat following his move up from the team’s test and reserve driver role at Monza this year. The 28-year-old Italian made his race debut in 2005 with Red Bull Racing and moved to Toro Rosso for 2006 and 2007. In 2008, he became Force India’s third driver.

Sutil said: “I feel good here, it feels like family, and when you feel at ease you can focus your energy on getting it right on track. Next season, I want to be in the points on a regular basis, maybe even challenging for the podium, and the team has exactly the same goals.”

Liuzzi said he is ready to make a mark for himself and the team this season.

“It was always my goal to be back racing in 2010 and I’ve finally achieved it. I feel the five races I did in 2009 were a bit of a warm-up. Now I am ready to push next season. We were pretty strong in the last part of the 2009 season. I think we could be in for a good year. For sure points are the aim and showing everyone what we can do.”

An announcement regarding the third driver will be made in the following tests on December 1-3 for which Paul di Resta of England, 23, and J.R. Hilderbrand of the US, 21, have been invited.