With as many as seven drivers having tested for the squad in recent weeks, Force India's driver line-up for 2008 has been the subject of much discussion, but it now appears there may be two drives going at the Silverstone-based concern - rather than just the one as had been originally assumed.

Ralf Schumacher, Giancarlo Fisichella, Christian Klien, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Franck Montagny, Roldan Rodriguez and Giedo van der Garde have all tried out for the former Spyker F1 outfit in winter testing, but Adrian Sutil's position there had looked to be all-but assured. Until now.

Despite the young German having a contract to remain at Force India next year, team chief Colin Kolles recently intimated there may be two seats available. Sutil has been mentioned as one of the possible replacements for Fernando Alonso at McLaren in 2008. Though the 24-year-old would doubtless appeal to engine suppliers and team partner Mercedes due to his nationality, he is not believed to be top of Ron Dennis' wish list.

"I think Sutil could go if he is offered a better car..." Spanish newspaper Diario AS quotes Rodriguez as having said in the recent Jerez test.

Schumacher, meanwhile, would seem to have already written himself out of the reckoning as a Force India driver in 2008, following a troubled day's testing punctuated by mechanical gremlins and off-track excursions. The German hinted afterwards that was probably the last time he would drive a Formula 1 car in anger, and that he would not be pursuing a race seat with the squad next year.

"Ralf came to test and not to compete for a seat in the team," team owner Vijay Mallya - a close personal friend of Schumacher's - was quoted as having told news agency PTI. "He said what he had to and it's fine by me."

Team principal Colin Kolles, meanwhile, moved to play down the 32-year-old's apparently poor performance at Jerez last week, when Schumacher had proved slowest of all 20 drivers present.

"Ralf did a very good and consistent job," Kolles told German magazine Sport Bild. "There were too many red flags when it came to trying for purely quick times with fresh tyres."

 

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