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Fisi Joins Ferrari… Vettel Joins Twitter!

September 6, 2009

It’s been a busy few days in the F1 world. On Thursday it was announced that Giancarlo Fisichella would be taking over from Luca Badoer as Felipe Massa’s replacement at Ferrari. On Friday, Renault were summoned by the World Motor Sport Council over Nelson Piquet’s accident at last year’s Singapore Grand Prix. And then, last night, Sebastian Vettel became the latest F1 driver to join the growing phenomenon that is Twitter.

The announcement that Fisichella would be moving to Ferrari, from next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, was revealed by the Force India team on Thursday, who released the Italian driver from his contract.

The team’s owner, Dr Vijay Mallya, said that Fisichella and his management had approached the team after it had become clear that Massa would not be returning to the Ferrari team until next season.

He 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 will be incorrect to jeopardise this, particularly when Giancarlo has made such a vital contribution to Force India.”

Fisichella in turn said he was grateful to the team for releasing him to fulfil his ambition. He said: “It is true that it has always been an ambition to do this, and for Vijay to have allowed it to become a reality is very generous.” He added: “[Force India] are now a very competitive team and I wish them all the very best.”

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said that he chose Fisichella because he deserved it, and because he is an expert driver.

The switch came off the back of Ferrari’s first win of 2009 in Spa by Kimi Raikkonen, who led home the Force India of Fisichella.

It is expected that Vitantonio Liuzzi, who last drove in Formula One for Toro Rosso in 2007, will replace Fisichella at Force India, having been the team’s test driver.

On Friday, the WMSC summoned Renault to appear in court over charges that the team caused a deliberate crash during last year’s Singapore Grand Prix. It is alleged that Nelson Piquet’s crash, that brought out the safety car, aided Fernando Alonso to take the lead and eventually win the race. The allegations emerged shortly after Piquet was dropped from the team during the summer break, however it is uncertain as to whom divulged the information. The hearing is expected to be heard later this month.

So not only have the last few days been eventful for the F1 world, the drivers also seem to have something to occupy their time with: Twitter. The first driver to make an appearance a while back was Nelson Piquet, shortly followed by Rubens Barrichello. Both Brazilian drivers tweet in a mixture of Portuguese and English, with the latter providing F1 fans worldwide with updates on Felipe Massa’s condition after his crash in Hungary. The next driver to appear was Jenson Button who tweeted Rubens telling him “you converted me big guy!!”

But it was the appearance of @real_Vettel last night that got tweeting F1 fans excited. It was Jenson who helped to figure out whether it really was Sebastian Vettel, with the former asking questions to check his true identity, and the latter appearing to give the right answers. Within less than 24 hours Vettel has just under 1,000 followers.

What remains to be seen now, is whether any more drivers will join.

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