FERRARI HAS CONFIRMED the worst kept secret in Formula 1 by announcing it has secured the services of Belgian Grand Prix pole winner Giancarlo Fisichella until the end of the season.
Despite early concerns Force India would reject Fisichella?s plea to fulfil a lifelong dream, team boss Vijay Mallya agreed to release the Italian from his contract, saying it would have been wrong to deny him such an opportunity.
?For any Italian driver, a Ferrari race seat is a long-held dream and for Giancarlo it was no exception. No one should stand in the way of this,? he said.
?Furthermore the agreement will secure Giancarlo's long-term future with Ferrari and it would be incorrect to jeopardise this, particularly when Giancarlo has made such a vital contribution to Force India.?
Fisichella said he was overjoyed at news of his move to Ferrari, continuing the unexpected revival of a career which appeared to be on the wane until his podium finish in Belgium.
?I'm in seventh heaven. I still can't believe it ? that the dream of my life comes true,? he said.
?Over the last week some really incredible things happened to me: the pole position and then second place at Spa and now I'm called by Ferrari to race the last five races of the season for them.
?I'll give my best to recompense the Scuderia for this great opportunity they gave me: I know that it won't be easy, but I'll give it everything to gain the best possible results.?
Although Fisichella?s ability has often been questioned, the Italian has rarely been in a position to challenge for regular podium finishes during his 13-year career. A three-season stretch with Renault proving to be his most successful.
Paired with Spaniard Fernando Alonso, Fisichella claimed six podium finishes and two victories, but was never able to consistently match the pace set by his team-mate as the French outfit clinched consecutive driver?s and constructor?s titles.
When Alonso finally left Renault in 2007, Fisichella assumed the mantle of number one driver but was unable to capitalise on the opportunity as the team plummeted out of race-winning contention.
The Roman-native was marked by teams as a spent force, leaving him to enter a shootout with Ralf Schumacher to receive a drive with lowly Force India in 2008, where he failed to score a single point until his runner-up finish at Belgium last weekend.
For 'Fisi', now in scarlet, all that has changed.