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KER lifts Kimi

Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix continued the theme of unexpected results and giant-killing seen this season. Kimi Raikkonen became the sixth different winner (in 12 races).


Knowing the Finn enjoys a drink some joked Raikkonen's performance was inspired by the beer sponsor advert on the back of the pole position starting car of Giancarlo Fisichella.

In reality the motivation came from the Kinetic Energy Recovery system (currently in use by only the Ferrari and McLaren teams) which boosts engine power by about 15 percent for six seconds every lap. Without this it is certainly possible that Fisichella could have taken a maiden victory for Force India.

Owned by larger-than-life businessman Vijay Mallya, Force India is the latest incarnation of the team started in 1991 by Eddie Jordan. Despite rumblings about slow payments Mallya - the chairman of Kingfisher beer producer United Breweries - insists he is committed to F1 and his actions back this up. A five-year relationship with McLaren-Mercedes for provision of engines, gearboxes and technical support started this year. It includes a senior McLaren engineer being seconded to Force India as CEO.

Before Sunday, the team had failed to score any points in 29 races and were edging towards the record held by Minardi (now Toro Rosso) on 55. Force India believe their car is now genuinely quick and second place in Belgium was not a freak performance. Certainly the Mercedes engine should be good: it has won once with McLaren and seven times in the back of a Brawn.

However, Force India operate on a budget probably a quarter of some rivals. Presumably, part of the reason for the team's name and patriotic color scheme is to generate interest in India and thus from companies wishing to sell to the world's second largest population. Currently, most of the sponsor logos on the cars are from Mallya's own companies.

In reality, the team team is as British as McLaren or Brawn despite an Indian figurehead and money. It was surprising Mallya chose not to hire the impressively talented Karun Chandhok - a winner in F1's feeder series, GP2 - at least as a reserve driver who could be prepared ahead of the race in New Delhi slated for 2011.


more at http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2009-09/02/content_8648269.htm

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