Force India F1 has confirmed that it will field an unchanged driver line-up in the 2009 Formula 1 World Championship, with Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil retaining their seats.

Despite assurances that the pair would start another season with the first Indian team to enter F1, the future of Fisichella and Sutil had been thrown into some doubt following the technical agreement that they have reached with McLaren-Mercedes.

Indeed, rumours had suggested that the involvement of McLaren-Mercedes, which takes over from Ferrari, would see test drivers Gary Paffett and Paul di Resta secure a race seat as a result.

Nonetheless, having endured a tough maiden season at the helm of the team, which had passed from Jordan, to Midland and then to Spyker before he took them over for 2008, team owner Vijay Mallya is confident the retention of Fisichella and Sutil will provide the necessary 'consistency' in a team that is otherwise undergoing a series of changes behind the scenes.

Mallya also confirmed that former Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Vitantonio Liuzzi will remain as their test driver.

"We have a wonderful balance between experience and ambition and now complete consistency," Mallya told the BBC "I firmly believe that next year will be a huge opportunity for the team."

Following the withdrawal of Honda, Mallya is setting his ambitions high for 2009, claiming that he wants Force India to be emulating Toro Rosso in featuring in the upper midfield on a regular basis.

"I certainly hope to be in the upper midfield in 2009, given all that we are doing, and I'd be disappointed if we are not - so that is a major step forward to begin with."

Despite failing to score any points, Force India enjoyed a small step up in performance in 2008 over Spyker. However, their season will be best remembered for Sutil's superb wet weather drive at Monaco when he was heading for a fourth place finish prior to being eliminated by the spinning Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen.


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