New Delhi:Laughing off suggestions that his race seat is in danger, veteran driver Giancarlo Fisichella hailed Force India's recent technical partnership with McLaren-Mercedes for the next year, calling it a giant leap forward by the Vijay Mallya-owned outfit.
Fisichella said he recently got his contract renewed and all the talk of either Pedro de la Rosa or Paul di Resta replacing him was nothing but Formula One gossip.
"I originally signed a two-year contract which was reviewed in September to incorporate the McLaren deal. In a few words, the team offered me a better car and a different package," Fisichella told the official formula one website.
"I accepted their proposal and both sides signed the new document between Singapore and China," he added.
Fisichella said the management kept him in the know of thing about Pedro de la Rosa test driving the VJM01 car for two days at last week's Barcelona test and hence it was not a surprise for him.
"The only thing I know is that in September we were told that Pedro could test and we could not say before it was made official so I was not at all surprised.
"As for the rest - I am not really interested in F1 gossip," said the Italian.
Asked what would be his plan B in case Mallya tinkers with the driver line-up, Fisichella said, "The line-up has been announced in China in October by Vijay, and I trust people who trust me."
The seasoned campaigner hailed Force India's recent partnership with McLaren-Mercedes and said, "The partnership is our biggest step towards finding competitiveness in the future. Vijay (Mallya) is building on a solid platform and going forward, so that Adrian and I are given a real chance to perform."
On what he expected from this cooperation with a world championship-winning team, he said, "A competitive package, that's all I want and what I have been promised. And that is a very good reason to drive for the team in 2009."
Looking back at Force India's debut Formula One season, Fisichella said finishing without a point hurt but he didn't expect miracles.
"I knew it was going to be tough and no promises were made to me at the beginning. The plan was to build up the future of the team and genuinely I had no big expectations, so I can say I am not disappointed, especially with my own performance," said the former Renault driver.
Asked what went wrong, he said, "We did not have a competitive car, that is all. Twice we were in the points -Adrian (Sutil) in Monaco and I was eighth in Brazil, but twice we did not score and that is not because of driver errors."
Force India will not test again until its 2009 car, with McLaren components, is ready and Fisichella said he would go on a long holiday before returning to practice in March.
"(I'll go on) a long holiday...but I will try to make the most of it by training hard," said the Italian.