Bernie advises Ralf, Fisi, to quit F1

Wed, 28 November 2007, 07:09

Bernie Ecclestone has advised veterans Ralf Schumacher and Giancarlo Fisichella to quit formula one rather than push for an uncompetitive seat at the Force India team in 2008.

Silverstone based Force India, bought and renamed recently by Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya, announced on Wednesday that the beleaguered duo are set to drive at the upcoming Jerez test.

Also pushing for the vacant seat for next year are Christian Klien, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Franck Montagny, Roldan Rodriguez and Giedo van der Garde, who will all also drive at the last test of 2007 in Spain.

But Ecclestone, F1’s 77-year-old chief executive, advises Schumacher and Fisichella to now leave the sport to up and coming racers.

“Both were at decent teams for some time when they should have been doing better jobs,” the Briton told the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport.

“They should think about whether it is intelligent to change to small teams,” he added.

Ecclestone made it particularly clear that he does not rate Fisichella, 34, who revealed on Wednesday that he has been given “permission” by Renault to explore other options for the 2008 season.

“Look at Renault,” Bernie continued. “If in 2005 and 2006 they would have had only Fisichella in the team, they would not have known that they had a car good enough to win the championship.”

Schumacher, meanwhile – and also Frenchman Montagny – know Force India owner Mallya through the Indian’s sponsorship of the Toyota team this year with his Kingfisher brand.

“For any driver, driving for a young dynamic team with high ambitions is a good opportunity, but at the moment it is just one test to see how we get on working together, and whether this is possible,” the German, 32, said on Wednesday.

“I think I can help the team with its development programme but we will see,” he added.

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