Hulkenberg in, Sutil out at Force India for 2012

2012 F1 season

Adrian Sutil, Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Adrian Sutil, Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Nico Hulkenberg will return to F1 in 2012 with Force India, the team has confirmed.

Hulkenberg will join Paul di Resta in the team’s race-line up for next season.

The news leaves Adrian Sutil without a race seat having spent the last five years with the team.

Team principal Vijay Mallya said: “Our new line-up means we say ‘goodbye’ to Adrian Sutil, who has been with the team since we entered the sport. He has been an integral part of our success over the past four seasons and we wish him well for the future.”

Mallya added: “In Paul and Nico we have two extremely talented drivers with tremendous potential.

“I think Paul caught the eye of everybody in the pit lane during his rookie season. His speed, maturity and racecraft confirmed that we were right to believe in him and we look forward to working with him again next year.

“As for Nico, we identified him as a rising star at the end of 2010 and chose to evaluate him during the course of this season. Despite having only limited time in the car, he convinced us that he deserved a race seat for 2012.”

Hulkenberg said: “I?m obviously delighted to be staying with Sahara Force India and to be given the chance to race next year.

“It wasn?t easy to watch from the sidelines this season, but I did my best to help the team and show what I was capable of. I?m extremely motivated for 2012 and would like to thank everyone for believing in me and giving me this chance.

“I?m keen to get down to work over the winter to develop our new car and help the team build on this year?s achievements. The first test in Jerez can?t come soon enough.”

Di Resta said: “I?ve said all along that I love being part of this team: they are ambitious, hungry for success and we work well together. I?m really excited about 2012 and there is a real sense of belief that we can continue to push the top teams and take another step forward.”

See the updated list of 2012 F1 drivers and teams.

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125 comments on Hulkenberg in, Sutil out at Force India for 2012

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  1. vickyy (@vickyy) said on 16th December 2011, 15:14

    Such mixed feelings, exciting line-up but worried for Sutil :(

    • Gagnon (@johnniewalker) said on 16th December 2011, 17:56

      I have to say the same….. I like both Hulkenberg and Sutil but I want to see them performing on the same grid…….. I just hope sutil can get a seat at williams maybe……

    • Andy W (@andy-w) said on 17th December 2011, 10:52

      I am happy for Force India because I think its right for the team to bring in new blood and that it is time for Adrian to move on… Unfortunately he should be moving onwards and upwards and isn’t.

      Adrian to me seems the perfect fit for the number 2 seat at Ferrari, he has the speed, intelligence, skills and talent to push that car against Alonso, he has the pace I am sure to be a race winner and podium regular… beyond that he would would have to supply that extra spark to become one of the greats of the sport and maybe a world champion…

    • Wolfgang (@amadeus) said on 18th December 2011, 21:37

      Well, it was a widely expected decision. No smoke without fire. Next year, Vijay and and the team will realise their mistake. Di Resta was overhyped to death, same Hulkenberg. They are “platoon drivers” and nothing else. Sutil, on the other hand, is in advanced negotiations with Williams. The Grove-based team wants a 2-years contract, Sutil wants only 1 year. According to a prestigios german magazine (the same who announced his departure from Force India ) Sutil is announced as a possible replacement for Felipe Massa from 2013. Alonso – Sutil lineup ? A dream team….

  2. Osvaldas31 (@osvaldas31) said on 16th December 2011, 15:14

    Didn’t see that coming…

  3. damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 16th December 2011, 15:15

    I’m happy that Hulkenberg and di Resta have seats as I think they both have talent, but I really hope Adrian gets a drive somewhere as he has potential. He was pretty average early in his career but he’s ironed out his mistakes and I found him to be quite a solid driver in 2010 and this year.

    I’m still not sold on Hulkenberg completely, but that pole he got in Brazil was probably the most joyous moment of the entire season.

  4. Sandlefish (@sandlefish) said on 16th December 2011, 15:16

    Happy that Hulkenberg has got a seat, though this could make the Williams line up interesting.. Sutil seems to be headed that direction now possibly alongside Maldonado, but has there been any news on PDVSA’s sponsorship yet or might they be touting Petrov’s services?

  5. FullSpe3d (@dryyoshi) said on 16th December 2011, 15:17

    Knew it was going to happen, Di Resta underperformed for me, because I think Sutil is quite mediocre, and to be pretty much dominated for the whole season just doesnt show much promisde.

  6. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 16th December 2011, 15:22

    I’m chuffed for Hulkenberg, it was a joke he was left on the sidelines this year.

    It’s a pity for Sutil but after five years I can’t say I’m too surprised. He didn’t exactly dominate di Resta this year – far from it, actually.

    Not an easy decision for Force India but I think they’ve made the right call. They’ve got an exciting line-up for next year.

    • Mouse_Nightshirt (@mouse_nightshirt) said on 16th December 2011, 15:32

      Sutil strikes me as a solid, if slightly underwhelming driver. I suspect he’ll do no more than find another seat and serve out the rest of his time in the sport. Ultimately, I think Force India made the right decision.

    • F1Underground (@realf1underground) said on 16th December 2011, 15:33

      What sponsors will nico bring in team ?
      just for knowledge, nothing other than !

      • Jelle van der Meer (@jelle-van-der-meer) said on 16th December 2011, 15:39

        Sutil is like Heidfeld – solid driver that has the skills and experience but does not bring the excitement or the exceptional to the table.

        As neither has a pot of gold both will be watching from the sidelines although I expect Williams will replace Barichello for Sutil.

      • His personal sponsor ist Katjes. But i don’t know if there any others, but he said a few times that he will not pay for a cockpit.

    • Estesark (@estesark) said on 16th December 2011, 15:38

      I agree, Keith. This decision is a little tough on Sutil, but completely understandable. I think I would have done the same, in Mallya’s shoes. Sutil deserves to stay in the sport, and I think and hope he will go to Williams now.

    • i expected this last year itself, when Tonio and Sutil were paired; it was impossible to evaluate Sutil based on Tonio’s performance… Fisi Sutil’s previous team mate was doing better than him looking at VJM02’s history. So firing Tonio was very logical & letting go of Sutil following his comparison with a Rookie was also a right thing to do… though he did a good job in the second half but his performance could have been accurately measured only if he and Paul had the similar race strategy.

      Hulk & di Resta is the best way forward… to young guys wanting to prove themselves with a team which can’t afford good experience guys from big teams but can only bet on young drivers who could be as good as the top guys with some experience in the car.

      BTW our Prime Minister has made a statement few days ago implying that the airline cos will get help & already we see some action to that effect like reducing fuel prices of airlines… so hopefully Mallya can stay with FI for a few more years.

    • Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 16th December 2011, 17:01

      I wouldn’t phrase it better Keith.

    • I agree. I’ve never warmed for Sutil, apart from the last few months when he raised his game. For what he’s shown this year, he deserves to be in F1, but Hulkenberg and di Resta more so.

    • Couldn’t agree more Keith

    • Marco_ferrari said on 16th December 2011, 21:47

      The bigger joke is that Hulkenberg is back in Formula One… He was trashed by an old Barrichello, so I don t know what are the people in Force India expecting… Pole Positions on every Saturday? I believe this is the only reason why he is so overhyped… His drive was pretty boring in 2010, he showed very few overtakings and average race pace… I don t get those “we think he has a big otential” things, when the facts and numbers are saying something different… And about Sutil and Di Resta… Having an advantage of 15 points in midfield is quite outstanding… But they will have, what they wanted… I am really looking forward, if one of those drivers could reach a top 10 position in standings… I very much doubt that… I was desgusted by sacking of Alguersuari, which had no sense at all and this one is the same… Both drivers had their best seasons, get praise from Formula One fans and some Formula One insiders, but yet they don t have seats for next year… A complete joke… It is how I said before, some drivers can do everything, have great results, but still it isn t enough… Because the most important thing is an imaginery potential, which is not backed by anything visible…

    • baluundertaker (@baluundertaker) said on 17th December 2011, 13:50

      Considering Sutil got 42 to Di Resta’s 27 – I would rather see it 55% more points than Di Resta than just 15 more. There is only 1 or 2 points difference at lower positions compared to 5 to 8 at top positions so its unfair to expect Sutil to beat Di Resta by 100s of points like alonso or vettel did.

      Statistically speaking, Sutil beat Di Resta more convincingly than even Button beat Hamilton and and almost on par with Vettel beating Webber. Considering top 6 teams in championship and leaving out Renault(as they had multiple driver pairings), Sutil is 3rd best out of 10 drivers in consideration based on the general F1 fanatics observation that a driver can only be evaluated against his teammate.

      So i believe he has been unfairly treated by F1 fans. Force India can have other reasons to boot him out but i expect fans to rate(doesn’t need to like) a driver based on his results only.

      I am neither a Sutil fan nor anti-di resta but a huge fan of “stats don’t lie” :)

      • Dev (@dev) said on 18th December 2011, 5:51

        but stats don’t tell that di Resta was always on an alternative strategy in the later part of the season which would only have worked if safety car was in picture or if the tire performance did not go down as much as expected… so i’m sure his car setup was slightly different to allow for that strategy. besides Force India pit crew cost di Resta could be best result where he qualified 6th & his few mistakes like in Canada & the race before also cost him points… he has got pace he has made few rookie mistakes & he can only improve from here… where as Sutil lost out to Fisi, he beat Tonio but Tonio was hardly a reference… di Resta in his rookie season has shown lot of potential… Hulk’s friday practice pace was suggesting that he maybe quicker than both. So it was an easy call to make.

  7. PieLighter (@pielighter) said on 16th December 2011, 15:25

    This was inevitable – Sutil wasn’t exactly great and he should have wiped the floor with Di Resta, but ultimately didn’t.

    • The Last Pope (@the-last-pope) said on 16th December 2011, 15:43

      Yes, Because Di Resta is obviously terrible, the only reason he beat Vettel when they were team mates was because Vettel and the rest of the F3 grid were driving while in a coma.

      • Thats more or less what I was thinking.

        • PieLighter (@pielighter) said on 16th December 2011, 21:54

          No, what I meant was experience > youth

          • PieLighter (@pielighter) said on 16th December 2011, 21:58

            I was expecting Sutil to be better due to experience, and he ultimately was, but not by as much as I had previously predicted.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 20th December 2011, 18:55

            What @pielighter writes, Sutil should have grown far more. I found him quite interesting in the first half of 2009, but he failed to take over where Fisi left and this year he only got better after is became more and more likely that he would be dropped. Fine effort, but just not good enough for the top.

      • lkjinho said on 17th December 2011, 10:54

        hurr durr he beat Vettel in Junior Formulae, which means he is good. Frentzen used to beat Schumacher in sports cars, look what happened to that. The F1 environment is different, you have to develop additional skills. Not to mention how much either of them could have learned in those 5 years, especially since Vettel has been in open-seaters

    • as the season went on sutil got faster, di resta didnt. if it was a rookie thing it would of been the other way round.

      Sutil struggled with the tyre change from bridgestone. many will argue his experience should mean that shouldnt happen. but di resta had nothing to adapt from. it was all fresh.

      the same happened in 07 lewis was instantly fast while michelin generation drivers kimi and fernando struggled for a few races.

      and this season we were hearing its now lewis struggling to adapt…funny how the cycle goes round

      From just before mid season when everyone found their feet sutil did by far the better job. If di resta was getting close to him during final gp’s id say yes the potential is there. but that wasnt the case.

      Bad decision in the long run. Nico deserves to be in F1 but he only had a small handful of good races in 2010.

      i predict these 2 will trip over each other on more than one occasion in 2012.

    • Mike (@mike) said on 17th December 2011, 7:55

      Adrian Sutil 42
      Paul di Resta 27

      This is getting ridiculous… I know Di Resta is likable… But Sutil did beat him quite conclusively.

      • Antranik (@antranik) said on 17th December 2011, 8:55

        I don’t think Di Resta is likable, that kid is so boring its unbelievable every time BBC just forced an interview with him I would go do something else. Monotone voice + nothing interesting to say = boring, although that might have been caused by the way the Beeb were infact forcing these interviews at every session of every venue…
        His drive was impressive but I think Sutil was ultimately better. As said before it must have been an incredibly difficult decision to make considering how all 3 of them are fully deserving of a race seat.

    • baluundertaker (@baluundertaker) said on 17th December 2011, 13:54

      He did wipe the floor with Di Resta unless you are considering only qualifying as the bench mark in which case Webber and Trulli were the best drivers of mid 2000s.

      Based on pure race results, Sutil beat Di Resta as comfortably Vettel did Webber(Just a simple exercise multiply both sutil and di resta’s points by 10 and let me know if it appears any different from vettel and webber’s scores)

    • smokinjoe (@smokinjoe) said on 18th December 2011, 6:33

      di rasta has just one season in f1 he can only improve while sutil just got stagnant

  8. supernicebob (@supernicebob) said on 16th December 2011, 15:27

    Glad for Nico, but there will be a lot of pressure on him to deliver from the get go I should imagine so it will be interesting to see if he can live up to that. I’m optimistic that he will.

    Can’t have been an easy decision to get rid of Sutil, especially after his strong finish to the season. Hopefully he can claim that remaining seat at Williams to remain on the grid for next year.

  9. TheWittyWeasel (@thewittyweasel) said on 16th December 2011, 15:34

    Very much mixed emotions here.

    I’m glad to see Nico getting a seat again – he’s thoroughly likeable and clearly very talented and deserves a race seat, so on one hand I’m delighted with this news.

    However, on the other, its a huge shame for Sutil. He has really come into his own this year – the previous years of his career he hasn’t really proven himself, and I think now that he had a clearly genuinely talented team mate he has really had to up his game, and he has done this. But ultimately, it is too late for him. Had he upped his game last year and pulled out performances like he did in Brazil or in Germany this year last year as well, I think he may have had more of a shot.

    Its a shame to see him go, but at the same time, great to see Hulkenberg back.

    • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 16th December 2011, 16:02

      Agree completely. Sutil would have to be one of the most improved drivers in F1 and it’s a shame to see him go as soon as he seems to get on top of everything.

      • Todfod (@todfod) said on 16th December 2011, 20:52

        For sure. Sutil has had some brilliant moments that were shadowed by a poor car. In my humble opinion, he belongs in the top half of the grid (only just).

        So I hope he finds a decent drive for next season, and that Hulkengerg does that 2nd seat justice.

  10. Sandlefish (@sandlefish) said on 16th December 2011, 15:36

    It’s also interesting how many ‘new faces’ for 2012 are actually making comebacks: Räikkönen, Grosjean, Hülkenberg and de la Rosa..

  11. F1Underground (@realf1underground) said on 16th December 2011, 15:37

    Sutil -> Williams
    Alguersuari -> HRT
    and Vitaly -> Caterham

    then all reserves !

  12. CarolinaBlue704 (@carolinablue704) said on 16th December 2011, 15:49

    Great for Hulkenberg. Glad to see him back. Hopefully Sutil can find a ride for 2012. I’d like to see him at Williams.

  13. The Last Pope (@the-last-pope) said on 16th December 2011, 15:53

    Its bad how all these drivers that had very good seasons are getting left out in the cold, while many drivers with a bad season have safe seats.

    • Tommo N7 (@tommothfc) said on 16th December 2011, 16:13

      @the-last-pope I wouldn’t say any of the drivers without a drive right now had ‘very good seasons.’ Sutil had an ok season, but overall he really hasn’t impressed in the 5 years he’s been in F1. Petrov & Senna both haven’t set the world alight either. They haven’t had a great chance to, but their seasons were quite dismal, mainly because of the Renault. Buemi & Alguersuari have both had longer, and Buemi hasn’t impressed me. Alguersuari though in my opinion has a lot to offer still. He is only 21, and I think he is probably the most deserving out of these drivers to get a seat. Not that they all don’t deserve a seat, but I’d give the remaining spots to Alguersuari & Sutil.

      • Mike (@mike) said on 17th December 2011, 7:52

        I think Sutil had a good season, All the attention on Di Resta has made it hard to notice though.

        I really hope Alguarsuari gets a seat. He’s better than this.

        However… I love Rubens… The chances are slim now… But I so hope he get gets to keep his seat.

  14. Shane (@f1champion18) said on 16th December 2011, 15:55

    Well, I’m not surprised! I don’t think Sutil deserves to lose his seat at Force India, but Hulkenberg’s talent is undoubted. He’s going to be top class. I can see Sutil taking the seat at Williams with Maldonado(how is he still in F1?).

    I think it’s slightly unfair to say Sutil should have wiped the floor with Di Resta last season. When you have a driver as talented as Paul, I think Sutil did a brilliant job in beating Di Resta. I think Force India realise how talented Hulkenberg is and don’t want another team to get him before he becomes a star. They probably needed to give him the seat. And they can”t get rid of Di Resta after the great debut season he had. Therefore, Sutil unfortuanately loses out.

  15. Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 16th December 2011, 16:16

    Any news of who the Force India reserve driver is yet? And is he guaranteed a race drive in 2013?!

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