Force India: Team tightens grasp on sixth in championship

2011 Abu Dhabi GP team review

Force India moved to 15 points clear of Sauber in the battle for sixth in the constructors’ championship, with one race remaining.

Adrian Sutil Paul di Resta
Qualifying position 9 10
Qualifying time comparison (Q2) 1’40.205 (-0.209) 1’40.414
Race position 8 9
Laps 55/55 55/55
Pit stops 2 1

Force India drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/2011drivercolours.csv
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55
Adrian Sutil 117.646 109.953 108.738 108.958 108.341 107.993 107.941 108.085 107.622 107.797 107.926 107.722 108.193 108.259 108.155 109.75 126.254 106.565 106.906 106.358 106.391 105.909 106.012 105.874 105.661 105.599 105.678 105.634 105.876 105.481 105.49 106.307 106.118 106.29 106.078 108.367 126.728 106.031 105.952 105.687 105.538 105.342 106.4 105.927 105.503 105.22 105.228 104.804 104.856 105.121 104.969 105.214 104.709 105.061 104.791
Paul di Resta 119.226 110.83 109.889 109.11 109.241 109.164 108.536 108.688 109.621 108.674 108.775 108.536 109.669 111.284 108.693 108.37 108.569 108.64 109.735 109.47 108.821 108.807 108.623 108.722 108.607 109.269 111.287 126.603 106.172 105.881 106.496 107.644 106.028 105.679 107.605 105.264 105.118 107.519 105.035 104.751 104.691 104.726 104.661 104.795 104.818 104.238 104.303 104.656 104.12 104.837 105.647 105.31 105.805 105.08 106.635

Adrian Sutil

Adrian Sutil, Force India, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Adrian Sutil, Force India, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Start tyre Soft
Pit stop 1 Soft 20.356s
Pit stop 2 Medium 20.614s

Both Force Indias got through to Q3 and as Sutil was the only driver to set a time, he started ahead.

He admitted that they waited to see if Mercedes would do a lap which left it too late for him to generate enough heat in his tyres: “The lap was a little bit compromised because I didn?t get the tyres fully up to temperature, so maybe I could have been a bit higher up.”

He fell short of beating Michael Schumacher by a tenth of a second.

Sutil finished the race close behind Schumacher as well after the team decided to use a conventional strategy: “Initially we were planning to do a one-stop race, but the team took the decision to switch to a two-stop strategy because the soft tyre did not last as long as we thought it would. So it was a good call by the team to make the change.”

Adrian Sutil 2011 form guide

Paul di Resta

Start tyre Medium
Pit stop 1 Soft 20.216s

Di Resta started on the harder tyres and fell behind Sergio Perez at the start, but was soon back in front as the Sauber driver broke his wing against Sutil’s car.

He came under pressure from Sebastien Buemi and twice re-passed the Toro Rosso in the second DRS zone having been taken in the first. But on lap 14 he ran wide at turn 11 while taking the place back a third time, and Buemi was through.

Di Resta took the place back when the Toro Rosso driver retired a few laps later. Running an unusual one-stop strategy, he made his single stop on lap 27 and finished the race on soft tyres: “With hindsight my one-stop race was not the optimum strategy, but we felt it was worth a try. As it turned out the performance of the medium was not great to begin with so the first 30 laps were quite hard work.”

Paul di Resta 2011 form guide

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39 comments on Force India: Team tightens grasp on sixth in championship

  1. Girts (@girts) said on 14th November 2011, 13:28

    So, after a wobbly start to the season, Sutil has outqualified di Resta in 7 of last 9 races, finished race ahead in most cases and got more points as well. I like di Resta a lot but it’s hard to justify why Sutil should be the one who gets thrown out of the team after the end of the season.

    • matthewf1 (@) said on 14th November 2011, 13:39

      +1

    • Raveendhana (@raveendhana) said on 14th November 2011, 13:41

      lets wait for mallyas announcement, am sure he will keep sutil, media will always be speculating though.

      • snowman (@snowman) said on 14th November 2011, 13:56

        It would be a massive surprise if they do keep Sutil as the rumors seem strong. They weren’t like the Rosberg to Ferrari type “out of nowhere rumors”!

        @Girts
        I think DiResta got over rated a bit because of Sutil’s struggles with the new tyres at the start of the season and most people having to listen to the BBC biging him up all the time. If him and Perez had swapped nationality’s you wouldn’t be hearing so much about Di Resta on the BBC and it would all be Perez the best rookie.

        I imagine the deal was done to replace Sutil with Hulkenburg a couple of races ago before it started to look so one sided with Sutil. To be fair to Di Resta who I admit I don’t like so much he is still in his first season so have to cut him some slack.

        • Girts (@girts) said on 14th November 2011, 14:23

          @snowman I think di Resta’s done a very solid job in his 1st season and that he deserves a race seat in F1. It’s very possible that he will outgrow Sutil with time but he just ain’t there yet.

          I also don’t like when commentators praise some drivers just because of their nationality, the German commentators sometimes get on my nerves with their nationalism, too :)

        • at british gp di resta qualified 6th, and the teams faulty pit stops cost him points… di resta’s rookie mistakes cost him points too… but i feel over time he will cut down on his mistake & get stronger…. Sutil with his 5 years of experience should have been miles ahead of Di Resta…

          • marco_ferrari said on 14th November 2011, 15:30

            What does it mean “miles ahead”? Half of a second, or what? The one who upped his game in qualifying wasn t Di Resta, but Sutil… He still has the edge in pace over the Scot…

          • laird18 said on 14th November 2011, 20:17

            Over the last eight races Di Resta has outscored Sutil by 21 points to 14. Who’s got the edge in pace over who?

          • tflb1 (@) said on 14th November 2011, 21:12

            @laird18 During the season Sutil has outqualified Di Resta 10-8 and out-pointed him 34-23. Who’s got the edge in pace over who?

          • laird18 said on 14th November 2011, 23:40

            Thanks for the sarcasm.

            FYI, I’m not claiming that Di Resta has been faster than Sutil this year, I’m simply questioning whether anyone — on the outside — can make any claim either way.

            As for the points you raise…

            1. The outqualifying numbers you quote really mean next to nothing given that a) drivers purposefully and variably compromise their qually pace for race day, and b) the Force India and in particular Di Resta hasn’t been running in Q3. How can he be expected to outqualify his teammate if he doesn’t even post a time??

            2. Also, Di Resta’s lower points total over the season has less to do with pace, and more to do with a number of unfortunate racing incidents during the second and third quarters of the season (e.g. taken out by Heidfeld and Glock), as well as team errors (e.g. pit crew error in Silverstone). Di Resta’s pace was such that he could have scored 20 more points in Canada, Monaco and Silverstone alone.

            It’s Force India that have the facts over who is faster – let’s wait and see what they decide.

    • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 14th November 2011, 13:42

      I agree there is little reason to throw Sutil out, although this time FI made it unnecessarily hard for DiResta. If you look at the laptimes chart, DiResta lost an enormous amount of time on his wearing mediums compared to Sutil on his new softs – it looks like around 40 seconds in 15 laps. If DiResta had pitted on lap 15 for two soft stints, he would have looked much better.

      • Girts (@girts) said on 14th November 2011, 14:13

        @adrianmorse That looks true. But isn’t it actually so that FI have often had different strategies for their drivers this season? I’ve got an impression that they split the strategies more often than other teams do, I wonder why…

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 14th November 2011, 14:08

      Sutil has been at the team for five years. Maybe they feel that there is littlre more that he has to offer, and that they can take the likes of Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg and shape them into stronger drivers, which they can’t do with Sutil.

      And the episode in the Shanghai nightclub with Renault’s Eric Lux can’t have helped his cause.

    • I like di Resta a lot but it’s hard to justify why Sutil should be the one who gets thrown out of the team after the end of the season.

      di Resta is the rookie and Sutil’s had five years. If FI want to advance they should take a gamble with future stars and not just keep someone who is often average.

      • marco_ferrari said on 14th November 2011, 14:48

        Force India has finally found a solid driver pairing, so they definitely don t need to make any gambles and especially not with a driver, who hasn t turned the world around (Hulkenberg)…

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 14th November 2011, 15:00

          Hulkenberg had an impressive debut season and not just that remarkable pole position at Interlagos. It reflects rather poorly on F1 that a rookie driver of his calibre was unable to find a place on the grid this year when other, lesser talents did.

          I hope he gets a race seat somewhere next year.

          • marco_ferrari said on 14th November 2011, 15:26

            What was so impressive at his season? Barrichello and Sutil in a comparable car scored more then twice as much points then him… Counting all his results together he would have finished only 18th, so last from drivers of established teams… His drive was generally very sterile for my liking without any great overtaking manouevres… And btw, he had a chance to spent a year at HRT, but his manager Weber refused to sign a deal with a backmarker… So he is where he is…

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 14th November 2011, 15:39

            I answered that in the links I posted, in articles I wrote last year.

          • tflb1 (@) said on 14th November 2011, 18:54

            But does that mean he deserves Sutil’s seat? I’d say no. In fact I think Maldonado has done a better job at Williams and they don’t regret dropping Hulk at all.

          • laird18 said on 14th November 2011, 20:10

            @marco_ferrari

            I concur that this idea that Hulkenburg’s debut season was ‘impressive’ is questionable. It certainly was no where near as impressive as Di Resta’s or Perez’s this year, or even Maldonado’s for that fact! However, Force India will have a good idea of his pace from practice sessions this year and we’ll see what they decide.

            Also, again, it’s strange that there is implicit criticism of Di Resta’s performance in the comments above. As in India he was on a heavily compromised strategy (clearly Force India are playing very conservatively and hedging their bets between their two drivers), but once again in the circumstances he brought home the best possible result: 9th, and a couple of championship points. In contrast Perez thew points away with an error on lap 1, and Maldonado ruined his race by collecting two penalties. Give Di Resta some credit! It’s actually quite ridiculous how high people’s expectations are of someone who is only in his first season in the sport! Sutil is a fantastic driver, and Di Resta is more often than not matching him. How close was Liuzzi – someone with years of F1 experience – to Sutil last year? Nowhere near it! So someone please give the rookie some credit. It’s incredible how well he’s doing this year.

            Relatedly, it’s also not fair to use the crude outqualified metric (e.g. 7-2 in last 9 races). As we’ve seen Di Resta hasn’t been given a chance to run in Q3 on several occasions.

            (On this point, why don’t they change the rules so qualy position goes with Q2 times rather than the number on the car?)

          • I don’t think Hulkenberg was that good last season. Barrichello is old and past it and still was generally the quicker driver over the season. Maldonado gets a lot of flak on these boards but he’s probably been closer to Rubens than Hulkenberg was.

            If I was Mallya I would keep Sutil and Di Resta and let Hulkenberg go, they’re both driving well I don’t see a reason to change.

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 15th November 2011, 17:29

      @girts Its Di Resta’s first season, that’s why. He has held his own against Sutil and relatively, you could argue he’s had a better season.

  2. marco_ferrari said on 14th November 2011, 13:44

    Nice job by Adrian… Now just two points and “the best of the rest” position in standings will be reached… Hope he secures the seat somewhere (FIndia, Williams, Renault), because he is definitely not underperforming…

  3. 91jb12 (@91jb12) said on 14th November 2011, 14:00

    di resta may as well have done another stop. He lost 30+ seconds in 9 or 10 laps there in the middle

  4. Force India need better stategists, any military commander will tell you the plans usually start falling apart as soon as you meet the enemy, and you then change to plan B. It doesn’t look like Force India had a plan B for di Resta.
    I’m sure that most of us that also kept an eye on the live timings would have brought him in shortly after lap 15 and changed to a 2 stopper.

    • James_mc (@james_mc) said on 14th November 2011, 18:35

      I had thought that they should have changed strategy early on. And looking at the graph they definitely should have switched, the gap between used hards and new softs was simply too much.

  5. Dringdring (@dringdring) said on 14th November 2011, 20:18

    Hi. @W-K and @James_mc , I think the reasoning behind not pitting Di Resta earlier was that he was quite effective in keeping Buemi , on the options, behind him therefore giving Sutil a bit of a gap ahead. I also found it frustrating though beacause he clearly had the pace on the softer tyre from his qually times, it would have been good to see if he could keep pace with his team-mate on a similar stategy.

  6. I noticed none of them during the race, which must be a good sign. They had a quiet but solid race, and I’m impressed by Sutil lately. I’m not saying he should leave F1 as he’s doing a good job now, but after so many years in the same team and with such a talent as Hulkeneberg waiting for his seat, I can understand if Force India decide not to renew his contract for next season. Di Resta is a rookie and he’s done quite well this season even if Sutil started beating him more often in the final part of the season.

  7. amadeus said on 15th November 2011, 9:47

    Adrian Sutil is a victim of mass-media. All the comentators and journalists, especially the brit ones, praised DiResta like he was a young Schumacher or Vettel. He is nothing but a very, very common pilot. Adrian Sutil, on the other hand, proved that he’s a strong driver, with steel nerves and flawless will. We saw over the time a lot of good drivers who became victims of the off-track gossip and speculations. Sutil was strong enough to get through all this problems. I don’t wanna be mean, but only an amateur manager will give up on Adrian for Hulkenbeg or Di Resta. Hulkenberg proved almost nothing on his rookie year, except that pole position. In the end, if Force India give up on Adrian, they will find out very soon how much worth the bird the hand rather than two in the bush…

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 15th November 2011, 10:10

      Rubbish. If a driver’s good enough, he’ll keep his place regardless of what “the media” has to say. Talent and money talk loudest in F1.

      So far this year Sutil has narrowly out-performed a vastly less experienced driver. It’s not hard to see why there’s speculation over his future when Force India have another promising young talent waiting in the wings.

      “The media” will make no difference to what Force India ultimately decide to do. Nor will outlandish boasts about him being a “strong driver with steel nerves and flawless will”.

      • 1 of the 3 said on 15th November 2011, 12:53

        Then Adrian Sutil should keep his seat because he is indeed the most talented of the rest and he’s proved that this year.

        I just find it curious that the Sauber drivers and the Torro Rosso drivers are behind Sutil. Many are crazy for Kobayashi but what has he done? He’s popular because he’s funny and has some good overtakes. But where is he this season? My point here is that amadeus is not completely off. He’s exaggerated the media aspect, but I’d add being popular and fan appeal to “talent” and “money” because if Sutil loses his seat it’s not because of talent and money (maybe the incident more than anything and that indeed is Sutil’s fault).

        But look at Steph’s comment above,”…someone who is often average”. “average” really? He might finish just behind Schumacher if he gets some points in Brazil and ahead of the Renault’s but he’s average!?!

      • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 15th November 2011, 14:05

        Then again @keithcollantine, above you mentioned Huelkenberg – I don’t think I entirely agree that he has shown so great last year, though it is true he lost his seat for money mainly.

        But since Sutil seemingly brings money enough to pay his salary, and has shown this year that he can recover from an average start of the year, saying he has less talent is not a clear cut conclusion to me.

        Based on his performance last year in F1 I don’t think one can say that Huelkenberg would have clearly done better than either of the current drivers.

        So in the end then the choice on its face is as clear cut as with STR who of their drivers more deserves a seat next year.

        Based on Sutil having now had five years to show his worth, while di Resta and Hulk having had one year, I can understand FI wanting to look beyond him.

        But we do also have to recall that the cars Sutil drove up till about three years ago were about on par with the current Williams at best, and 2009 was only better in high speed races, where in the 2nd half of the season Sutil managed to get close to the front of the grid in quali (races crashes). Not sure if Fisi beat him while in that car.

        Anyway, too long a post. I don’t doubt di Resta doing well, and having promise, not even Hulk having promise, but I do somewhat doubt Sutil having little to offer.

      • amadeus said on 19th November 2011, 14:28

        Rubbish ? Renault is the best example of rubbish strategy. They fired Nick Heidfeld, a very experienced driver for Bruno Senna. Heidfeld brought 34 points. This is a very amateuristic way to settle a problem in F1. How many points brought Bruno Senna ? Well, mutatis mutandis, if Force India will fire Sutil, they will be in the same situation with two inexperienced drivers.

  8. marco_ferrari said on 15th November 2011, 10:47

    Totally agree with you Amadeus… Di Resta is overhyped to death… If he should be the next best thing since Jesus Christ, I wonder why is he full 11 points and 3 places behind that “crappy, mediocre and peaked” Sutil… Great logic! :D

  9. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 15th November 2011, 17:37

    Good, solid race from Sutil. Di Resta of course did well to hold off against Buemi as long as he did, I certainly wouldn’t want the fastest car on track hounding me up the straights!

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