Force India makes its presence felt


A weekend to remember. One for the history books, and in so many ways.


Giancarlo Fisichella, having driven the race of his life, is expected to fulfil every Italian’s boy dream and get the call from the Scuderia. At Monza, of all places, it looks like he will race a Ferrari. I assume that when the invitation comes he will accept it…

One imagines that the loan of Fisi to Maranello could just be the most profitable piece of business that Mr Mallya will bank in this financial year.

But, for once, it’s not all about money. Force India proved, on Sunday anyway, that you don’t have to have the biggest, smartest motor home to take on the Big Budget Boys. And Valentino Rossi reminds us that he is, in fact, a human being.


Lots to mull over then, as we slide reluctantly from summer to autumn, while we anticipate with some relish the climax of the European Grand Prix season at magnificent Monza.

Fisichella. A weekend is a long time in Formula 1, and what a difference a day makes. First Barrichello strikes back, and now Fisichella reminds us that, yes, he has the talent, but not always the inclination. So, the old men are not done with yet, and maybe a bit of experience does in fact beat a new haircut and expensive sunglasses.


Kimi-without-KERS would not have had a chance at Spa. Just take a look at the lap times. So where has Force India found this startling pace? In two very clever young designers, that’s where, and in a new team manager fresh from the McLaren Technology Centre. Add in the force of Vijay Mallya, the experience of Andy Stevenson, and you see that, in the right place and on the right day, this crew was going to get the car up the grid. And this was no flash in the pan. The car is quick, the engine is strong and they have been working very hard back at the old Jordan building at Silverstone. Wise heads, young heads and a driver with talent will eventually come good, and we should rejoice in another twist to this extraordinary tale of 2009.


Meanwhile, in Indiana, the Doctor got it wrong. Yup, this time it was Rossi, not Jorge Lorenzo, who let it slip from under him. Reassuring really, and good for the MotoGP championship. But the little man must be mad with himself.

And then there’s our very own Jenson Button, a man who has somehow lost his form at just the wrong moment. But when Button fails to deliver, his rivals have largely failed to capitalise. And this is just the sprinkling of good fortune that is one of the vital ingredients in the recipe for a World Championship. Had his team-mate been able to repeat his performance from Valencia in Belgium, things would be so very different.


So, as we discussed last week, these are intriguing times. Motor racing is going through a tough period and the almost inevitable withdrawal of Toyota from Grand Prix racing would be another blow to a sporting business that has been hit hard by the weakness of the global economy.

What is good, however, is that the sport’s showcase – the Formula 1 World Championship – has rarely been so exciting. Just a few months ago, in Monte Carlo, Bernie Ecclestone declared that he thought the show was becoming a little boring, with the same man winning all the races. Not now. There will be further surprises.

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