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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

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

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

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

    Sutil’s only option now is Williams.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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


      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.

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

    Has anybody else noticed that, despite all the hype they get (and regardless of whether or not it is justified), Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg only have one-year contracts?

  12. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 17th December 2011, 2:00

    Happy for Hulk & well for at least this line up was expected, who will be their Test driver?

  13. Gerry said on 17th December 2011, 3:46

    All I can say is ‘Bad move Force India , you have taken a step backwords for sure’

  14. Ritvik Vinodkumar (@ritvik-vinodkumar) said on 17th December 2011, 6:07

    Even if Sutil is linked with Williams, i really like to see him in Caterham alongside Kovalainen. He utterly dominated trulli this season, but if sutil takes that place then that would be the best possible lineup to take Caterham forward. Two equally matched teammates with exactly the same experience and both at the best form of their careers.
    Now, that would be amazing!

  15. rapidroller (@rdave0803) said on 17th December 2011, 7:33

    Well that was expected. As an Adrian Sutil fan, I am obviously gutted and am only hoping that he gets that Williams seat.

    Down to the new FI line up. Hulkenberg and di Resta are both quick, young, relatively inexperienced (both entering their 2nd full season in F1) and are highly rated in the paddock. So, we are in for an interesting battle for supremacy in FI. Maybe the one who comes out on top could end up in Mercedes in 2013 if Schumi decides against signing a new contract. So, I think the Merc bosses will be keenly looking at how Hulk and di Resta perform.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th December 2011, 9:11

      It does set up an interesting battle in the midfield. Renault/Lotus held onto fifth in the WCC by the skin of their teeth this year, and now they’ve swapped both their drivers out for two drivers who have not been in the sport for two years. Force India have dropped their regular driver in favour of Hulkenberg, so di Resta will no doubt be team leader. It will be interesting to see if they can take the fight to Lotus. With Lotus admitting that Raikkonen might need some time to get fully up to speed, Force India will have to strike while the iron is hot. The first few races will be fairly intense as they wrestle over who gets to set the early lead.

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