Adrian Sutil, Paul di Resta, Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 2011

Who should drive for Force India in 2012?

Debates and pollsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Adrian Sutil, Paul di Resta, Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 2011
Adrian Sutil, Paul di Resta, Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 2011

Force India face a difficult decision over their driver line-up for 2011.

In Adrian Sutil, Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg they have three credible candidates for two race seats.

Should they plump for performance over consistency? Experience over potential? Compare the drivers and cast your vote below.

Adrian Sutil

Sutil enjoyed better form in the second half of 2011 than the first, being one of several drivers who raised their game as they became more familiar with the Pirelli tyres.

His season got off to a shaky start as he was often out-qualified by di Resta. He turned that around in the final races and ended up edging his team mate 10-9 over the course of the year.

Sutil is being compared against two drivers who have had only one season in Formula 1 so it’s worth reminding ourselves of his form in his debut season. Driving for the short-lived Spyker team in 2007, points were seldom on offer but eighth place in the rain-soaked Japanese Grand Prix put him on the board.

He compared well against Christijan Albers, who was dropped halfway through the year and Sakon Yamamoto, who spent the final seven races with the team.

The team became Force India the following year and Sutil has remained with them ever since. Only Felipe Massa has been with his present team longer than Sutil.

They are well-placed to judge his strengths and weaknesses and decided whether the experience of Sutil is worth trading against the potential of his two team mates.

Paul di Resta

Di Resta impressed in his first season of F1, not least by completing more laps than any other driver.

Di Resta wasn’t just dependable. He was also quick, taking sixth on the grid for his home race at Silverstone – Force India’s best qualifying result of the year – and was especially impressive on the streets of Singapore, bringing the car home in sixth place.

It’s no secret that the ultimate measures of performance were tilted in Sutil’s favour at the end of the season: he out-scored di Resta 42 points to 27, finished ahead ten times versus six, and spent 562 laps ahead of his team mate compared to 479 for di Resta.

But this is hardly an emphatic margin of superiority for a five-year veteran of the sport versus a first-timer. Particularly when Force India’s late-season strategy of splitting strategies between their drivers is taken into account – a policy that ensured the team collected vital points for the constructors championship but, as with di Resta in India, could leave one of their drivers vulnerable.

Nico Hulkenberg

Nico H?â??lkenberg, Fernando Alonso, Interlagos, 2010

It was no reflection on Hulkenberg’s ability that he failed to keep his place at Williams in 2011. The scarcity of sponsors’ logos on the FW33, aside from the PDVSA stickers arriving courtesy of Pastor Maldonado, tells you all you need to know about what happened there.

Hulkenberg’s 2010 record is dismissed by the unenlightened as ‘one fluky pole position’. This is nonsense – not least because his season-defining performance at a damp Interlagos produced not one but two lap times which the likes of Sebastian Vettel were unable to better for pole position.

Hulkenberg made his mark earlier in the season with another notable (though less celebrated) qualifying performance in the rain at Sepang, lining up fifth, half a second ahead of Rubens Barrichello.

As the season progress he was increasingly on a par with Barrichello in the races too, and scored points in six of the last ten races.

Small wonder Force India snapped him up as he slipped through Williams’ fingers, and have taken every reasonable opportunity to give him mileage in practice next year.

Who should drive for Force India in 2012?

Who do you think should drive for Force India next year? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Who should drive for Force India in 2012?

  • Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta (24%)
  • Adrian Sutil and Nico Hulkenberg (15%)
  • Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg (59%)
  • Some other combination (2%)

Total Voters: 363

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Images ?é?® Force India F1 Team, Williams/LAT

129 comments on “Who should drive for Force India in 2012?”

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  1. went for Sutil+Hulkenberg. Been thinking about this a couple of days .. 1 thing that is clear for me is that Sutil has to stay. He provides the team with experience and solid points. The number two should in my oppinion be Hulkenberg. Di Resta was good this year, but i don’t know .. he didnt really shine in the last couple of races. It’s not how you start the season, it’s how you end which is important for next year. I’d give Hulkenberg a change.

    1. it’s difficult to shine if the team put you in a one-stop strategy or something ridiculous like that.

  2. hi. i think Robert Kubica – Sutil

  3. or Robert Kubica – Di Resta

    1. Robert Kubica has already said that he will not start the 2012 season. And no team will sign him up without knowing that he is fully recovered from his injuries.

      1. robert can not start the tests in February, Robert did not say that it does not start in the season 2012

  4. The line-up should be Di Resta and Hulkenberg. I would think that Mercedes would like this to happen, so they can pick one or both to graduate to the works team, if good enough.

    Sutil improved over the season and beat a rookie. Was his improved performance down to getting to know the tyres or the realisation that his job was on the line?

    Hulkenberg and/or Di Resta could become one of the top line drivers in the future, so deserve their shot at F1.

    I think that Sutil may end up at Williams. A change may do him good and perhaps we may see him flourish. Make or break time for Adrian.

  5. It’s a shame that every combination a really good driver is going to miss out. I voted for Di Resta and Hulkenberg just because I feel they both could do really well with a second season under there belt. Di Resta had a very stable first season and can build on that, whilst Hulkenberg had a good first season, even on pole for Brazil, only to get thrown out the car just because a driver with more cash wants a seat. Sutil is a good driver, like many he struggled with getting to grips with the PZero’s and once he got over the hurdle, he was good not great but many drivers didn’t do great. It would be a risk as many have said having two young drivers in the car but they are both hungry and both are quick but hopefully a good backroom staff could help with interpritating the telematry and such to help the R&D. Sutil doesn’t deserve to be kicked out of F1, he still has pace and he’s relitivly young and deserves another drive somewhere, Williams most likley but I can’t help but feel that Lotus (Renault) might have his name in the hat as well.

  6. I went for Nico and Adrian combination; something I have in common with the other 18 people who voted for the same duo.

  7. For FI I think the best would be to take Sutil and Di Resta, but as a fan, I must say I am getting bored with Sutil.
    He is a good driver, but not great, and he just seem to have gone stuck in the midfield not really doing anything spectacular or interesting. Di Resta and Hulkenberg might not be as good, yet, but they could become. For that reason I would like to see both get another shot, and hence I voted for Di Resta and Hulkenberg.

  8. Force India F1 – To Adrian Sutil I donno if he will be driving for the team next season. This might have been his last race with our team. But he drove like a Hero for our team from the very 1st day & was a special P6 at Brazil. He drove with all his heart & will be always remembered. I dont want him to leave our team. Feeling very sad :-(

  9. Force India F1 – To Adrian Sutil I donno if he will be driving for the team next season. This might have been his last race with our team. But he drove like a Hero for our team from the very 1st day & was a special P6 at Brazil. He drove with all his heart & will be always remembered. I dont want him to leave our team. Feeling very sad :-(.. I want Sutil & the Hulk ofr Force India F1 2012

  10. To me, Sutil and HĂĽlkenberg are the best drivers out of the three.

    It’s fascinating to see someone of Sutil’s abilities (probably not WC material, but still top third of the field IMHO) and consistent sponsor backing kicked out of a team, and potentially out of F1 after this year.

    The most pressing question to me seems whether Paul lost out to Adrian based on experience (curable) or talent. (not so much)

  11. Di Resta and Hulk for me.

    Although Sutil has done a good job this year and in the past 3 years he’s been evolving as a top driver, he needs to move on to a different team to gain more experience and further his value.
    I also believe that HĂĽlkenberg might outperform Di Resta but there’s only one way to find out..

    1. Sutil 4 yrs bro !

  12. See guys more than potential of new comers, focus on the car capabilities.. Sutil knows the car & team in n out… at times these factors play alot to be winning as a team.. Nico n Paul will not be able to contribute as much as Sutil did.. Reason being, he had a handful experience on how to deal with probs in car n how to get thins done within th team. Nico & Paul, both new comers will have to learn n experience what Sutil did in 4 yrs.. Todays competition we cannot afford to hv 2 new comers, u need a senior there guiding every race.. Sutil did that role efficiently.. am just hoping the cars are highly efficient with 2012 specs, so that both new comers ease into the car with the season start date..

    1. I can’t help but feel that a lot of people overestimate the amount of input that the drivers have in the development of the cars.
      The simple fact is that all of the teams will have smart guys who can explain everything to the drivers if need be (and will probably have to many times to even the most experienced). Whilst I don’t doubt that a driver will improve a bit better at setting the car up or steering the development, it would surely be those with more talent and willingness in this area that would be the most useful, especially with the limited testing.

      And honestly, I don’t believe we really know who is good and who isn’t in the paddock in this area

  13. Without a doubt Paul and Hulkenberg; both have already shown more talent than Sutil who has had fives year’s worth of chances. Sutil never really bothered Fisi all that much, he beat Liuzzi but it is Liuzzi and this year Paul has definitely outshone Sutil even if his latter half did pick up. There’s a reason Sutil hasn’t progressed in all this time and apparently he’s not that great on the technical side of him and if FI really want to progress they should gamble on talent that may actually take them places. I’m a Ferrari fan and I’d love either the Hulk or Paul in the red car one day so I think a team like FI would be mad to turn clear talent away.

  14. Force India can’t lose with this selection, but I think di Resta/Hulkenburg would be marginally better than Sutil/di Resta or Sutil/Hulkenburg for 2012. di Resta’s ready to pick up the team leadership reins, Hulkenburg’s ready for his second attempt at F1 racing and going to Williams (or Renault) could be the making of Sutil. Adrian’s experience would benefit Force India in the short term but in the long run would stymie development, leading to an unbalanced and vulnerable team.

    If neither Williams nor Renault hires the driver who loses out in the Force India battle (whichever one of the three it is), I will be seriously wondering what is wrong with the thought processes of team principals these days.

  15. Bring Mika Hakkinen back!!!

  16. Sutil and Di Resta. If Sutil finds a better seat (which I think he deserves) then Di Resta and Hulkenberg, but I think that would be a terrible line-up. Hulkenberg didn’t impress me at all in 2010

  17. sid_prasher (@)
    2nd December 2011, 18:43

    I have no basis to feel that Nico will do better than Sutil! Sutil did in fact clearly out score Paul.

    If forced to drop some one – i will drop Paul…but I will prefer the trio to remain together…

  18. Karthikeyan and Chandhok

    1. sid_prasher (@)
      2nd December 2011, 19:30

      :) how to destroy a team in 2 steps!

  19. There has never been a champion in the history of f1 who wasn’t able to do quick laps, it’s the first requirement a driver needs to meet and thats why it’s talked about.

    Actually there was such a champion. In 1984 Alain Prost thrashed Niki Lauda in quali. Lauda’s average starting position was about 8th place but he still managed to win that championship. But of course nowadays winning a championship Vettel-style is much more likely.

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