Force India create history, finish 2nd in Belgian GP

Force India’s Giancarlo Fisichella created history by giving India their first-ever Formula One race point, Force India finishing a sensational second in the Belgian Grand Prix, even as Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen overtook the Italian, who started from the pole, to win the race.

It was Raikkonen’s first victory in 25 races and Ferrari’s first this year. It was also his first since the 2008 Spanish Grand Prix, and the 18th of his career.

It came on a day when the drivers’ championship battle was given a shake, if not tipped upside down, thanks to a multiple collision on the opening lap.

Raikkonen, champion in 2007, whose place in the team is under threat amid unconfirmed reports that Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Renault has signed to replace him next year, was delighted at ending Ferrari’s barren run of 11 races without a win after a barren first-half of the season.

Fisichella lost the lead he had established at the original start – the safety car was sent out during the first lap due to the accidents – when he was cautious at the re-start and Raikkonen surged into the lead.

But he finished up coming home only nine-tenths of a second behind the Ferrari, proving that the Force India’s Mercedes-Benz engine was the most effective on the circuit and certain to be a threat at the Italian Grand Prix next month. Behind the leading duo, who battled for victory, came Vettel ahead of Pole Robert Kubica, fourth for BMW Sauber, team-mate German Nick Heidfeld, with Finn Heikki Kovalainen sixth for McLaren Mercedes.

Fisichella’s podium finish will also bring monetary benefits to Force India:

• Force India’s travel expenses get taken care of next year, meaning Vijay Mallya’s expenses are brought down. For each lap an F1 car completes in a race, the cost is nearly $1,300 in fuel, tyres and brake wear.

• The 8 points mean that Force India, if it doesn’t finish last, get a share of the television rights money, which is rumoured to be the vicinity of $1.5 billion, at the end of the season. The teams have access to 47 per cent of the television revenues that Formula One Management earns. Each race produces a revenue of $229 million.
• Force India sponsors would’ve got major airtime courtesy the track position. For brands and sponsors, this is return on investment.
• Fisichella is also likely to be paid a point bonus as per his contract. Drivers can get upto $25,000 for every point they score.

source: Times Of India