Fisichella joins Ferrari

Giancarlo Fisichella has been given the green light by Force India to race for Ferrari for the remainder of the season, with immediate effect.

"Following extensive discussions over the past 24 hours, the Force India Formula One Team has agreed to release Giancarlo Fisichella from his contract to join the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team for the remainder of the 2009 season, starting with immediate effect," Force India said in a statment.

Force India team boss Vijay Mallya said that he would not have stood in the way of the Italian taking a race seat with Ferrari.

"Giancarlo and his management team approached me yesterday with the proposal from Ferrari," Mallya said.

"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.

"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."

Amazingly, Mallya said that there had been no financial settlement with Ferrari over the switch of Fisichella, who caused a minor sensation when running Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen close in Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix for Force India's first ever championship points.

"This agreement has been made in good faith and for the good of Giancarlo and the sport in general," Mallya insisted.

"A competitive Italian driver in a Ferrari for Monza is a positive story for Formula One, which can only help raise the sport's profile in these difficult times."

Fisichella would now be expected to make his Ferrari debut at the next Formula One Grand Prix at the Italian circuit of Monza on September 13.

The 36-year-old replaces Luca Badoer as Kimi Raikkonen's team-mate, after the Italian test driver filled in for two races following Felipe Massa's accident at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Stand-in Badoer, 38, struggled in his two races as a replacement for Massa. Making a comeback after almost a decade away from grand prix racing, he qualified last in Valencia and Belgium and was also last to take the chequered flag in both races.

Force India are yet to announce who will replace Fisichella for them for the remainder of the season.

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