Former Red Bull and Torro Rosso driver Vitantonio Liuzzi has been taken on as the test driver for the Force India Formula One team, sources in the team said on Tuesday. The 26-year-old Italian, who made his Formula One debut with Red Bull in 2005, had been racing for their sister team Torro Rosso for the past two seasons and had notched five points from 39 Formula One races. He was, however, replaced by four-time Champ Car winner Sebastian Bourdais in the Torro Rosso team for 2008 and had been left without a race drive for the upcoming season.
Liuzzi had test driven for the team, formerly Spyker, during their very first winter test session in Barcelona in November since the team was jointly taken over by Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya and renamed Force India. Subsequently, he had been one of the seven drivers invited to test drive for the team during their four-day testing programme in Jerez, Spain, in December following his "outstanding performance and feedback" at the Barcelona test, a team statement had said.
Force India is likely to officially announce their driver line-up for 2008 on January 10, when Mallya addresses a press conference in Mumbai. Italy's Giancarlo Fisichella is expected to team up with Germany's Adrian Sutil for the upcoming season that begins on March 16.