Italian Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil of Germany were on Thursday unveiled as the drivers of the new Force India team that will race in Formula One this year.
Another Italian, Vitantonio Liuzzi, will serve as the test driver of the former Spyker team, now jointly owned by flamboyant Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya and the Mol family from the Netherlands.
Fisichella, who turns 35 on Monday and is a veteran of 196 Grand Prix races, was signed after he was eased out by Renualt at the end of the previous season to make way for Fernando Alonso who moved from McLaren.
Sutil, who finished 19th with Spyker last season, was retained as the number two driver after testing with Force India last month alongside, among others, Ralf Schumacher and Christian Klien.
Mallya, the Branson and famous for his larger than life image and hi-fi parties whose empire extends from breweries to airlines, has chosen the slogan “force of a billion hearts” to attract Indians to the team.
“No one believed India would have a Formula One team but we are there,” said Mallya. “In years to come, we will be a force to reckon with.”
The team will use two of the Ferrari-powered former Spyker F8-VII chassis in its new interim burgundy and white livery.