Giancarlo Fisichella says he cannot believe how his life has been transformed in the past week after being officially confirmed as a Ferrari driver for the remainder of 2009. The Italian will race alongside Kimi Raikkonen for the rest of the season before becoming Ferrari's official reserve driver in 2010.
Speaking at Maranello on Thursday, having met team principal Stefano Domenicali and other Ferrari personnel to discuss plans for the Italian Grand Prix, Fisichella was clearly overjoyed at the turn of events – which comes almost 14 years after he tested a Ferrari 412 T2 on September 27, 1995 at Fiorano.
"I'm in seventh heaven," Fisichella told the official Ferrari website. "I still can't believe it – that the dream of my life comes true, and I want to thank Ferrari and Chairman Luca di Montezemolo.
"Over the last week some really incredible things happened to me: the pole position and then second place at Spa and now I'm called by Ferrari to race the last five races of the season for them. I'll give my best to recompense the Scuderia for this great opportunity they gave me: I know that it won't be easy, but I'll give it everything to gain the best possible results."
Domenicali said he had thought long and hard before opting for Fisichella, and were keen for the Italian to have a long-term relationship with the team.
"We chose Giancarlo, because we think that he can make a significant contribution in terms of points during the finale of this uncertain season," he explained. "Furthermore we considered what could be his role inside the team in the near future, also taking this year's experiences into account. He will be the reserve driver in 2010.
"I want to thank Vijay Mallya and Force India F1 for giving Giancarlo the possibility to cancel his contract in such a happy moment for the team, allowing him to crown his dream as a driver.
"Now we have to concentrate on Monza, an event we really care for in a very special way: we know that it will be difficult to keep the performance level we had over the last Grands Prix, but we'll give our best to entertain our fans and I hope there will be lots of them at the track to support us."
Fisichella's appointment comes at the expense of Luca Badoer, who failed to shine during his two-race outing for the team. Although happy about his own position, Fisichella expressed some sympathy for the plight of his fellow Italian.
"I want to say that I'm very sorry for Luca," said Fisichella. "I know how much he cared to race in Monza behind the wheel of a Ferrari, because this is the best thing that can happen to an Italian driver, to drive a red car in front of our fans."