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'This year we will try and make India proud'

Formula One Force India's drivers, Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil, go vroom vroom on their all-new car and the upcoming season to Nikhil Taneja, just weeks before the first race.

india Updated: Feb 25, 2009 16:36 IST
Nikhil Taneja

Formula One Force India's drivers, Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil, go vroom vroom on their all-new car and the upcoming season to Nikhil Taneja, just weeks before the first race.

2008 was a tough season for Force India. What are the expectations from the 2009 season?

Giancarlo Fisichella: This year, we have built a new car so we are more confident. The deal with McLaren promises a better season.

Adrian Sutil: My expectations are simple.. I want to be real quick. And have a reliable car so we can finish most races and pile up the points.

Adrian, last year, you were quite accident-prone. You had 11 retirements in 18 games.

Sutil: That was our biggest problem last year. The car was a liability. But with the new drive and partnership, we should improve.

I was in fourth before the accident. It was very disappointed but I'm over it now. The good thing is that after the race weekend, everyone knows that Force India can perform. Obviously, expectations are higher now. I'm determined not to make any mistake this season.

Are there are positives you took from last season?

Fisichella: We accumulated a lot of experience last year. The real test will be in March, when we will test the car. (Smiles) I'm itching to drive it.

Sutil: There were a few good performances last year too. Monaco was obviously my biggest success. Even the race in Spa was good. If the car doesn't let us down, we will definitely do better this season.

All the other teams have already tested their car but you will test yours just days before the race. Doesn't that make you nervous?

Fisichella: Obviously, it does. The other teams have been on track since January. We are late and I am a little bit worried. But the new car looks promising.

Sutil: We have just eight days to test the car, four in Jerez and four in Barcelona. We will try and make the most of it.

How much of a difference will the McLaren-Mercedes partnership really make?

Fisichella: It's a very good collaboration. They have been world champions and constantly challenged Ferrari. The Mercedes engine and the McLaren gearbox will surely make a huge difference to our car.

Sutil: I think as far as engine goes, we are at the same level since we had Ferrari engines too last time. But the gearbox will definitely be better and will save us a lot of manpower. That will be the big advantage.

Will it be pick up points this season with big wins or pray for rain and special circumstances again?

Sutil: I hope the weather holds out. I'm optimistic but a lot will depends on the car. It's difficult to make predictions right now. Let's test the car first.

Fisichella: Last year, we were definitely close to points. This year, I'd like to be up on the podium. Anything could happen with a car that is reliable.

Y Giancarlo, you started out with Jordan and Adrian, and you were a part of Spyker too before you switched to Force India. How different is this set up?

Fisichella: Well, I knew most of those in the team when I came in last year. I'm very comfortable with the mechanics and engineers too. The difference now is that the team is much bigger and it has more support, which is very important.

Sutil: The core team is the same, and I knew all of them from before as well. The big change for me was that there were more Indians in this team. So the spirit of India comes through and that really makes a difference.

After one year, how's it been working with Vijay Mallya?

Fisichella: He's a very nice guy, with a lot of passion. India should be proud of him. He's putting in a lot of money. He obviously wants to win. We feel responsible towards him and the country. This year we will try and make India proud.

Sutil: Vijay is fun to talk to and a good businessman. He is obviously doing very well. His goals are high and I respect him for that. I think it's a good change that he took over the team.

How do you like working alongside each other?

Fisichella: Adrian and I have become good friends and that's important for the development of the team. We have the same ideas and we work well together. He's also very quick.

Sutil: I have learnt a lot of things from Giancarlo. He came from a successful team, Renault, and I learnt a lot about the car thanks to his experience. Also, he's really competitive and it's good for the team to have two drivers who push each other to the limits.

Narian Karthikeyan used to drive this car when the team was Jordan. Would you say he deserved a Force India drive?

Fisichella: Narain is a great guy and a good driver. When he was with Jordan, the car was obviously not quick enough. He can get another chance if he shows his talent and drives well.

Sutil: I don't know him much but then, it isn't my decision whether he drives for Formula One. So I can't really comment on that.

So what's your favourite memory of India last year?

Sutil: I love the food of India. I visit Indian restaurants in Germany too but traditional Indian food tastes different. There's still so much more for me to still discover. It's a unique country and everything is so interesting.

Fisichella: I like India too. There are a lot of nice places to visit. Even the hotels are great, so also the food. The only problem is traffic.

You must have surely enjoyed all the female attention you got here.

Fisichella: (Laughs) Yeah, I was flattered. I have a family but I obviously like women. It's always great to get attention It makes you feel good.

Sutil: (Laughs) You live in India so maybe you can tell me if the female interest in us remains. I hope they still like me. Let's see how many girls shout for our team when we come to India next.

Force India is launching a show to select pit girls for the team.. and the girls will also star in a movie. Would you like to act opposite them sometime?

Fisichella: (Laughs) You know, this is my 14th season in F1. I'm nearing the end of my career and need to think about my future. So it could be interesting to do a Bollywood movie. You've given me a good idea.

Sutil: Oh, I love movies! When I was young, I actually wanted to be an actor! So why not? I l remember, a long time ago, in Germany, we had a Bollywood movie on TV once a week.

Who would you like to star opposite from Bollywood if you do get into movies?

Fisichella: I keep forgetting her name.. wait.. Oh yes, I remember now, Shilpa Shetty.

Sutil: I don't know but I would definitely like to meet Shah Rukh Khan. He's very famous in Germany. It would be fascinating to meet him!

Quote
Narain is a great guy and a good driver. When he was with Jordan, the car was obviously not quick enough. He can get another chance if he shows his talent and drives well. - Fisichella

I have a family but I obviously like women. It's always great to get attention. It makes you feel good. - Fisichella

It would be fascinating to meet Shah Rukh Khan.. he's very famous in Germany - Sutil