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Page last updated at 13:31 GMT, Sunday, 1 March 2009

Force India take wraps off F1 car

Force India
Fisichella gave the new VJM02 its first run-out in Jerez

Force India launched their 2009 car with its track debut at testing in Jerez, Spain, on Sunday.

Giancarlo Fisichella took the VJM02, which includes a Mercedes-Benz V8 engine and McLaren gearbox, through its paces at the Circuit de Jerez.

And team principal Vijay Mallya said they were looking to score their first world championship points in 2009.

He said: "I would like to see a strong start, rising to points mid-season and a definite improvement in qualifying."

I would love to see an Indian driver driving an Indian car

Force India chief Vijay Mallya
Force India failed to register a point in their debut season last year, and Mallya added: "Regular points finishes should be the aim."

And despite the global economic downturn, the team is apparently in solid financial shape.

"Force India is in a good enough position," said Mallya.

"It's a smaller team with a much smaller budget than the big boys and so it is probably relatively easier for us to manage under these circumstances."

This year will see the return of slick tyres and the introduction of Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (Kers), giving the start of the season an air of unpredictability.

"This year is maybe the biggest change for many years, with Kers, slick tires, downforce and new aero rules, so it's very exciting," said Fisichella.

"It would be good to see all the teams mixed up and to be able to fight for points. If the car is good, why not even for the podium?"

German Adrian Sutil will occupy the second driver's seat but Mallya is keen to one day employ an Indian driver.

"Much has been made of our decision not to employ an Indian driver, but it was my feeling that, although there is great talent out there, it is not right for Force India at the current time," he said.

"Of course at some point, from a patriotic point of view, I would love to see an Indian driver driving an Indian car and I have always said that with 1.2 billion people there must be a Lewis Hamilton in there somewhere!

"We will keep our eyes peeled and if, or when, the time is right, you'll see it happen."

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see also
Force India happy with F1 changes
16 Dec 08 |  Formula One
Mallya sparks Force India changes
10 Nov 08 |  Formula One
Force India confident in new car
08 Feb 08 |  Formula One
India set to feel the F1 Force
11 Jan 08 |  Formula One
Fisichella wins Force India drive
10 Jan 08 |  Formula One

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