Sahara Force India Week: The Force of India


Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Force India F1 celebrates on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Race, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday 30 August 2009. courtesy of Sahara Force India F1 Team

Once upon a time in India, a great country where you can find or loose yourself. Now, there is Force India, an F1 team that since 2008 has always surprised us. And in this special team was a special driver, the gladiator Giancarlo Fisichella.

The Roman driver began his F1 adventure in 1995 as a tester for Minardi and taking part in some races of the 1996 season without scoring points. In 1997, with a decent car, Jordan allowed Giancarlo to score 20 points with some great races, podiums and fastest laps, ending the season in eighth place in the final standing.

After four good seasons in Benetton, from 1998 to 2001, the Italian driver returned to Jordan, where in 2003 claimed his first win of his career in a thrilling race at the circuit of Interlagos. He could celebrate the win only 5 days later, because of an error of timing that gave the victory to Raikkonen. After passing a season at Sauber, Giancarlo began a great period of his career signing for the winning team Renault, where he didn’t have an easy life sharing the box with Fernando Alonso. Anyway he was able to win some good races and score many points both in 2005 and in 2006. But Fernando Alonso was the man in that era, so the Spaniard won both the championships and Fisichella had to be content with minor results in the final standing. In 2007, Renault lost Fernando Alonso to McLaren, and with him a lot of performance, so Fisichella could only score 21 points without wins or podiums.

And finally we arrive to the first season in Force India, 2008, where Giancarlo couldn’t score points because of a lack of reliability with the VJM01, even using a Ferrari engine. But in 2009, after a troubled start to the season without any points, in the Belgian grand prix he grabbed a fantastic pole position and a second place in the race. It was epic! In fact, after Massa’s accident in Hungary, Ferrari, to replace the Brazilian, choose Giancarlo for the remaining races of the season. And there happened the paradox! Maybe Ferrari didn’t suit him well, maybe Ferrari had a deep technical crisis, but Fisichella couldn’t reach good results with Maranello squad.

That’s the life: often it’s not gold what you see shining.

Massimo Trapanese, F1 correspondent

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