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F1 NEWS 

Force India to announce line-up this month

Vijay MallyaThe Force India team will announce their driver line-up for the 2008 season at the end of this month, according to co-owner Vijay Mallya.

The team have German Adrian Sutil confirmed for next year, but the second racing seat is still up for grabs, with the Silverstone-based squad having tested several drivers so far.

Giancarlo Fisichella, Christian Klien, Roldan Rodriguez and Vitantonio Liuzzi are believed to be the main candidates for the seat.

Speaking in an interview with the official Formula One website, Mallya said he will consider all options and then make a decision before the end of the year.

"At the end of December," said Mallya when asked when he will announce the team's line-up. "I want to think very clearly about who will sit in the second cockpit.

"It is a very important decision for me and the team and I do not want to jump into anything. I will evaluate all the facts and then make my move."

The Indian admits it will not be easy to choose, as he has been impressed by all the drivers testing for the team.

"It will be a very difficult decision that I have to make," he said. "All of them are very good - they would all bring different strengths to the team.

"Clearly we have Sutil on the one side and I need to make sure that the driver in the other car is able to raise the bar, so that both drivers keep raising the standard of performance all the time and help the engineering team along.

"In the past the team was looking for money, so money was the prime motivating factor for the driver line-up. Now that has changed. For me the prime factors are performance and the ability to give feedback to the engineers."

Mallya also said he wants the team to be fighting for a place on the podium by the time Formula One arrives in India in 2010.

"Formula One is an extremely competitive game. It represents the highest level of technology. Developing a car aerodynamically is easier said than done and we are not the only ones working on enhancing car performance - there are others who are trying to improve their car even more.

"But having Airbus on our side to do our CMT development is a major step forward because they have a huge amount of resources to assist us. We have our own two wind tunnels, which both are running 24/7 - so I have given the engineering team everything for success.

"The time frame? I have given one very clear objective - at the 2010 Indian Grand Prix Force India has to be on the podium."

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