Adrian Sutil: the driver debates

Adrian Sutil, Melbourne, Force India F1 Team, 470150

Here’s the first in a new series of articles where I’m going to open the floor to pretty much any comments you have about each of the drivers in turn.

First up: what do you think of Adrian Sutil?

Adrian Sutil, Sepang, Force India F1 Team, 2, 470313

I first became aware of Adrian Sutil in 2005 when he was Lewis Hamilton’s team mate at ASM in the Formula Three Euroseries. To say Hamilton showed Sutil the way would be quite the understatement – the British driver won 15 races out of 20 (which would have been 16 but for an unfortunate disqualification) while Sutil claimed only one.

Of course, Sutil didn’t have anything like the kind of manufacturer support Hamilton had at the time (and indeed for several years beforehand). Where Hamilton had Ron Dennis, Sutil had Colin Kolles, who guided him into F1 last year after the German driver won the 2006 Japanese F3 title.

His experience in Japan paid off when he scored Spyker’s sole point last year at Fuji in dreadful conditions. He also shined in the wet at Monte-Carlo, leading practice on the damp streets last year. He quickly out-stripped Cristijan Albers, who was duly shown the door, and Sakon Yamamoto proved no problem either. I ranked him 18th in last year’s driver rankings.

In Giancarlo Fisichella Sutil has a very telling benchmark as a team mate. Historically Fisichella tends to have performed better in less good cars and tended to beat his team mates until he found himself up against Fernando Alonso and Heikki Kovalainen at Renault.

Simply matching Fisichella will earn Sutil some kudos but to get the top teams knocking Sutil will have to start out-qualifying and out-racing him week-in, week-out.

How do you rate Adrian Sutil?

Adrian Sutil biography

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24 comments on Adrian Sutil: the driver debates

  1. Varun Murthy said on 25th March 2008, 9:21

    I think he is pretty decent.He had a great start this week when he jumped up from 20th to 14th before he had to retire..he was in fact challenging Vettel and was getting held up by him..And mind you,the Force India car is basically last years Spyker with loads of Aero mods..He will definitely match Fisico in the race when he gets his qualifying form on track(All the getting tyre temperatures up stuff)..And i dont think we should be comparing Sutil with lewis..Lewis is a thouroughbred from the Mclaren stable..and the only similarities between the Force India car and the Mclaren is that they look similar from very very very far away..
    PS:I am from India and i am u huge supporter of Force India.This fact could have clouded my judgement. :)

  2. Sutil may have out-raced Albers and Yamamoto, but what does that show? Not much is the answer. He looks quick, though, and his career will probably mirror Fisichella’s, i.e. he’ll do OK in crap cars for ages.

  3. Jan-Force India Fan said on 25th March 2008, 10:17

    Sutil is an very good racer, but in the qualifyngs he have problem to bring the tires on the right temperature. I think the team is more focused on Fisichella. I hope he has an great future with this team. His advantage is that the media is not so focused on him. He is not under pressure like Rosberg or Vettel and will have enough time to develop.

  4. It may be too early into 2008 season to judge but I think Sutil has been quite dispointing this season. He has no excuse like Kovalainen had last year or Piquet may have this year. He has 1 racing season under his belt and he is in the same team he was last year.

    Fisichella is not Alonso, but remember that Sutil was one of the candidates for McLaren seast this year … If he can’t match Fisichella soon he can forget about top team drive … If he gets dumped by Force India, he can forget about any F1 drive ….

    Liuzzi is always ready…

  5. Anirudh Asokan said on 25th March 2008, 11:48

    I think it’s too early to judge who is better….in both the GPs (Aus & Mal) Sutil was ahead of Fisi before having to retire…I say he has not got the right opportunity to prove himself…damm bad luck

  6. I suspect we could have another Nick Heidfeld on our hands – good enough to always be in work, and to take advantage of any chance he gets of decent machinery or favourable circumstances, but never destined to be a superstar.

  7. Andy has it – the guy is competent but nothing special.  He can prove me wrong by doing a Kovalainen on Fisichella but I just don’t think it’s going to happen.

  8. I like him and would like to see him excel, although at this point he is not getting the chance to make headlines

  9. Mr Wrong said on 25th March 2008, 15:46

    Adrian could be thought of as the driver with potential but lacking in natural talent. A mixture of Pedro De La Rosa and Martin Brundle, he will have to work hard to keep a drive and may even become a test driver for some of the top teams at best. He may do better as a commentator than a racing driver, as is the case with Martin.
    Great blog, by the way.

  10. Number 38 said on 25th March 2008, 16:30

    Sutil is over rated. Force India (what a silly name) sould have signed Klien or Luizzi with Fisichella. Sutil needs more mileage in his logbook before we know what he’s worth.

  11. Bbbut said on 25th March 2008, 18:21

    Most of you guys underestimate Sutil big time, because you do not know his career background.

    All you know is, that he lost to Hamilton in F3 in 2005…
    But what you do not realize is how remarkable that was from Sutil’s side.
    The results back then actually show his natural talent. It is no surprise that Hamilton himself regards Sutil not only as a friend, but as one of the best drivers.

    Let me explain.

    Sutil started his racing career at the age of 14, that is very late by today’s standard. Think about it, at this time Lewis had been racing for six years already, wining at international carting races.
    In fact, in these early days every single opponent Sutil faced was three times more experienced than him.
    Still he prevailed and quickly moved up the leagues.
    That is another reason, why people underestimate him. His  past results do not look that impressive. But this is only because most of the time he moved up a class right after his rookie year (e.g. after only one season in
    F-BMW right into F3 Euro).

    And so we come to 2005. Yes, Lewis was dominant, no question about it. But most of time Sutil was just 2 seconds behind him at the finish line. 2 victories and 11 podiums are not too shabby against all these "high-potentials" like Hamilton, di Grassi, Vettel, Rossiter, who all have been driving before they could walk.

    And this is the main difference of Sutil to all other latest rookies in Formula One. He really has the big potential to improve as he is still low on his personal learning curve, so to speak.

    He is already beating Fisichella in race trim and he will get better in qualifying. I am confident that by the end of the year there will be no doubt who is the better Force India driver.

  12. Manatcna said on 25th March 2008, 21:36

    I must say, although I don’t know much about his pre-F1 history that I’m definitely underwhelmed with Sutil. O.K. , he’s not been in the best car, But then neither has Vettel and I rate Seb V much more.
    Sutil has to start scoring points – and before Fisi does.
    Remember, there’s another driver waiting in the wings ready to jump in to car 21 (or 20)

  13. jack said on 25th March 2008, 21:43

    Nick is much better than sutil. Nick beats most of his team mates including two wdc’s, sutil cant even beat fisi.

  14. Bbbut said on 26th March 2008, 0:14

    Manatcna on what basis do you rate Vettel higher than Sutil?
    We all know, it’s hard to compare drivers from different teams.
    In this case you could maybe take Liuzzi as guidline.
    Well last year Vettel was slower than Liuzzi and everybody who reads more than the final result table knows this.
    This year Liuzzi is the 3rd driver of Force India. If they would consider Sutil slower than Liuzzi they would have replaced him, no?

  15. Manatcna said on 26th March 2008, 0:40

    I’m going on the only thing that matters – points won.
    Vettel 5 last year – against 3 for Liuzzi
    If Liuzzi was faster, why did he score fewer points?
    And, if I remember correctly the one point  Sutil scored was more or less gifted to him.
    Or am I wrong?

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