Force India has confirmed that their reserve driver, Vitantonio Liuzzi, will replace Giancarlo Fisichella for the remainder of the season.
With Fisichella moving to Ferrari, in replace of the injured Felipe Massa, the Silverstone-based team has decided to reward Luizzi with the vacant race seat until the end of 2009.
“I’m delighted to give Tonio the opportunity to get back into a race seat, which I know he has been itching to do for the past two years,” said team boss Vijay Mallya in a statement issued on the team’s website.
“Force India is now in a very competitive position and we need a driver who can continue this momentum. This will be the chance for Tonio to demonstrate to both the team and the field that he has the commitment, speed and professionalism to perform and I am sure he will seize this opportunity.”
Liuzzi, 28, last raced in Formula One with Toro Rosso, but after a spate of confrontations, with the team, he lost his drive at the end of 2007.
The Italian has not tested Formula One machinery since November last year, but says he is confident of making an impression in the sport.
“I can’t wait to get back into the car in race trim, particularly at my home Grand Prix in Monza,” he said. “I really appreciate the opportunity Vijay has given me, particularly now Force India has a great car that’s performing very well.
“I am confident I can carry on our progress. I’m very motivated, I’m in good shape and hungry to get some more points on the board.
“Although it’s unfortunate that this came about as an direct result of Felipe’s accident, this is my opportunity to show people what I can do and I’m really looking forward to it.”