Gary Paffett and Gerhard Berger could join forces at Force India F1 in 2009, it has been rumoured, following the re-sale of Scuderia Toro Rosso back to parent company Red Bull Racing and continuing uncertainty over FIF1's driver line-up next year.
Having sold his stake in STR, ten-time grand prix-winner Berger now has no active role within the grand prix paddock, but he has made it clear that he may well be back one day [see separate story – click here
]. Though he has rubbished the Force India talk, the Austrian does acknowledge that his absence is more likely to be a temporary rather than a permanent one.
“There is nothing to it,” the 49-year-old insisted in an interview with Austrian news agency APA
of the speculation linking him to a possible future involvement at the Silverstone-based squad. “There have been no discussions, and I have no interest.
“On the contrary, I am open to something else. Formula 1 is and remains my life, but as for the current rumours, nothing is on the table at the moment.”
Meanwhile, British newspaper The Sun
has claimed that 2005 DTM Champion and long-time McLaren-Mercedes test driver Gary Paffett has entered the race to drive for FIF1 next season – like fellow tin-top star Paul di Resta and McLaren colleague Pedro de la Rosa, the erstwhile McLaren/Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year's
name coming into the frame thanks to the Woking-based outfit's new technical and engine supply deal with the former Jordan, Midland and Spyker concern.
Force India managing director and team principal Vijay Mallya has admitted that he would be 'hard-pressed to ignore' advice from McLaren on drivers should it come his way, even if 2008 incumbents Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil are both adamant they have concrete deals already in place.