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F1 NEWS 

Fisichella hopes to prolong F1 career

Giancarlo FisichellaVeteran Giancarlo Fisichella is hoping that the new Force India-Mercedes VJM-02 will give him a springboard to prolong his career in Formula One.

Last year, the 36-year-old endured his first point-less season since his eight-race debut campaign with Minardi in 1996, but he is confident that the improved performance of the car will put memories of a difficult 2008 behind him.

"After many years in Formula One, it's not easy when you have a season like last year," Fisichella told autosport.com. "But I still love this sport, I love driving Formula One cars.

"Last year was difficult, but this year is much more encouraging. If I have a good season and I have the chance, I will stay in F1 for more."

Fisichella is confident that the team will emerge as regular points scorers in 2008, and did not rule out the possibility of stealing a podium finish.

"This year, with a completely new car, we hope to be competitive and to be able to score points quite often. The main target is why not get a podium?

"I can't say we are going to score points in every race, but last year we were usually in the last row and our pace was about two seconds slower than the leaders. The target is to close that gap and to try and be in the midfield."

Despite the late launch of the car, which will allow the team only eight full days of testing before the Australian Grand Prix, Fisichella hopes that his experience will help the team go in the right direction.

"I hope it is an advantage," he told autosport.com. "It important when you have got a lot of experience to give your feedback straight away to the engineers so they are going in the right direction.

"I drove in 1996 and 1997 with slick tyres and that could be good as we haven't got so much time. So having that experience could help."

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