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.

2012 F1 season


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

  1. Sutil really needs to get a a drive for next season. Hopefully it will be Williams because someone needs to balance the lack of Pastor’s pace. If he does then I think it might be good for him since he seems to perform well under pressure.

  2. sid_prasher (@) said on 16th December 2011, 17:02

    Disappointed for Sutil…I hope he finds a drive some where…

    As these developments have turned out (at Torro Rosso and FI), I am more and more ready to accept Ruben’s departure from the sport…

    • Raveendhana (@raveendhana) said on 16th December 2011, 17:17

      sutil’s depature from FI is on the expected lines, he might find a seat at williams, whereas nobody expected jamie and beumi to be kicked out by STR like this.

  3. verstappen (@verstappen) said on 16th December 2011, 17:03

    This is fine with me. Huelkenberg had à good Rookie season, whereas Sutil just never did shine.
    If I were Williams, I’d only take Sutil for tha money… He’s not an inspiational exceptional driver who brings all this extra energy to à team…

  4. mr apex said on 16th December 2011, 17:07

    i feel for the drivers who are not going to get a seat next year,i hope rubans stays let him have 20 seasons,this is where 3 car teams would be handy or even single car teams like in touring cars

  5. smifaye (@smifaye) said on 16th December 2011, 17:10

    I think this is definitely the decision I expected and I feel it is the wisest choice. Having two exciting young drivers is the way forward for these midfield teams I believe. Look at Sauber, exciting, enthusiastic and willing to learn.

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 17th December 2011, 13:14

      Couldn’t have said it better @smifaye I do rate Sutil, certainly more than I did in 2010 but I think for the benefit of his career and Force India as a team this is a wise choice. I’m confident Hulkenberg will deliver.

  6. I’m a bit surprised by people saying that sutil wasn’t good in the other season’s. He was on the verge of some very good results around 2007-2009 but every time either raikonnen took him out (I remember one instance of this at Monaco, but there was at least one other) or the car let him down. If not for that people would have held him in higher regard (look at how highly ppl speak of hulk after his pole in brazil 2010)

    That said I feel that force India have the right drivers. Di resta did a fantastic job last season, and hulk looks really promising (having won every driving series, other than F1, that he’s competed in.

    • My thoughts exactly re the first paragraph.

      He was on course to finish 4th in Monaco in 2008 before being taken out by Raikkonen. Also he was on course for a points finish in Nurburgring before getting into a tussle with Raikkonen again. This was during a season which he and FI ended up scoring 0 points.

      Although he didn’t manage a podium in 2009, he still finished 4th in Monza, still his best finish to date.

      Don’t forget back then he tended to finish top of the timesheets in FP sessions when they were wet.

  7. dam00r (@dam00r) said on 16th December 2011, 17:16

    I still can’t understand why De La Rosa got a race seat when there are so many young and talented drivers without a seat.

    Bloody Formula 1..

    I want Rubens for his last season next year, also Buemi, Chandhok, Alguesuari and Sutil..

    Lotus should sack Trulli for next year.

  8. This was rumoured to be the decision for a while now so it isn’t surprising news like the Lotus/Renault and Toro Rosso 2012 line-ups were.

    Personally I would have chosen Sutil and di Resta but it will be nice to have Hulkenberg back in F1.

    So this just leaves Williams and HRT unless we believe that Trulli’s seat at Caterham isn’t secure.

    I can see Sutil going to Williams and that leaving Barrichello out of F1.

  9. xbx-117 (@xbx-117) said on 16th December 2011, 18:01

    So strange. Sutil finished 9th in the championship, and “Faster Than Thou” di Resta finished 13th, but Sutil gets the boot. I simply disagree with the decision, but congrats to Hulkenburg all the same. We’ll see if he deserves the seat he’s been given though.

  10. ShameOne said on 16th December 2011, 18:06

    FINALLY!!!!!FI realized that Sutil has absolutely zero talent and will never be a winning driver. Hülkenberg will definetly contribute more to the team than Sutil could ever do. Thank you FI!!!

  11. Dafffid (@dafffid) said on 16th December 2011, 18:51

    I think Sutil’s relatively poor English will have counted against him too. Much better than my German I admit, but in a field full of fluent linguists like Schumi and Alonso, both Sutil and Heidfeld have relatively poor diction that makes them less attractive for sponsors and hence to teams. I stress the word ‘relatively’, this is not intended as a criticism of him, rather an observation on issues in play where sponsorship are concerned. Sutil seems dour, whereas fellow Germans Rosberg and Hulk in contrast speak far more eloquently and are much easier to sell. Nick did himself no favours in that regard with the bearded hippy look. Sad that it should come to that, but where advertisers are concerned, it absolutely will.

    Kimi aside I think those who are able to come over smoothly tend to be seen in a better light generally, especially when there’s not much to choose between two drivers, it’s a factor. Alguersuari’s smooth media presence (and his perfectly pitched response to being sacked) always made Buemi seem rather haunted in comparison, and I’d expect him to fare better in the fight for seats for that reason as much as for his driving.

  12. GT_Racer said on 16th December 2011, 18:54

    Not surprised, Actually expected it last year.

    The problem with Sutil is that he’s kinda been at the same level for a couple years, He’s shown no real improvement in any area (According to the Force India engineer’s).
    As I gather when the cars been good, He’s driven to the maximum potential of the car, However when the cars off he often struggles to figure it out.

    Di Resta had a good 1st year in F1, Especially when you consider he’s been racing DTM for a few years (Even with testing that sort of transition takes time to fully figure out, more so in terms of racecraft).
    Forec India (And others in the F1 paddock) have been very impressed with Paul’s performances & most see him as having a better long term future when compared to Sutil.

    Since Petrov has been mentioned above, He seems more likely to be off to Indycar next year.

  13. UKFan (@) said on 16th December 2011, 19:37

    YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS, go home German… wait Hulk is also German, got nothing against germans but I think Sutil just had enough of Force India he will find place elsewhere.

  14. Kamui Fan (@kamui-fan) said on 16th December 2011, 19:41

    I think di Resta and Hulkenberg will be a great partnership.
    Sutil was good but not great tbh

  15. sbl on tour (@sbl-on-tour) said on 16th December 2011, 20:09

    good to see hulk back, hope he trouches his previous employers

  16. L_A_Munro said on 16th December 2011, 20:32

    Sutil’s only option now is Williams.

  17. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 16th December 2011, 21:00

    About time really. Sutil hasn’t bee that impressive in most of his time at Force India. Before he could hide behind being a rookie, but his two years as team leader haven’t been that impressive. On top of this, Hulkenburg definitely deserved another shot.

    That said, this could be a good thing for Sutil if he gets the Williams spot. He had a good run at the end of the year (if suspiciously coinciding with increased speculation about his future) and if he could carry Williams back up the field, his reputation will be enhanced.

    As for Force India, well, Sauber didn’t struggle too much with an inexperienced line-up did they?

    It’s a potential win-win for everyone.

  18. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 16th December 2011, 21:57

    Eh, I think it was a mistake to give up Sutil for Hulkenberg. And it probably would have been a mistake to give up di Resta for Hulkenberg, too.

    • dam00r (@dam00r) said on 16th December 2011, 22:11

      And that’s why Ferrari should’ve given Massas seat to THE HULK for next year

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 16th December 2011, 22:22

        Actually, I think Hulkenberg is one of the most over-rated drivers on the grid. Even moreso than Bruno Senna. The only thing Hulkenberg has shown he can do is lose positions – at the overwhelming majority of races in 2010, he finished in a lower position than which he started in. He’s also one of the worst starters in the sport, with the slowest reaction times.

  19. sumedh said on 16th December 2011, 22:14

    Dropping Sutil was a good decision. They have been together for five years. Whatever could have been achieved has been achieved.

    Picking Hulkenburg is probably going to prove to be a bad decision. He drove two amazing laps on a Saturday at Interlagos. And was then dropped by the team a week later due to sponsorship issues. Take these two incidents together and you can see why people pity him so much and think that he should get another drive.

    But it is only pity love that people have for Nico. He is an average driver at best. Paul is the real deal and he needed someone in the other seat whom he could learn from and become more mature. Nico is definitely not that person. Sorry!

  20. tandrews (@tomand95) said on 16th December 2011, 22:37

    Most people saw this coming but it’s still a little bit harsh on Sutil. He was the best driver out of all the midfield teams and finished 9th in the championships behind the mercs who had the quicker car on 9 out of 10 weekends. I hope Sutil can find a seat next year at williams.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 16th December 2011, 23:28

      @tomand95

      I hope Sutil can find a seat next year at williams.

      I’ve heard that Vijay Mallya delayed announcing his drivers until Sutil had plans for 2012 in place. It might sound like a small courtesy, but Sutil’s bargaining position would have been weaker if the team annouced Hulkenberg and di Resta before Sutil had anything in place because it would have made him look bad. So I wouldn’t be surprised if Sutil already has something at the ready; Frank Williams has said that he wanted his line-up decided by Christmas, which is just a week away.

      Of course, Sutil could theoretically go anywhere with an open seat, or buy someone like Trulli out of his contract.

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