Bianchi and Sutil vying to be Di Resta’s team mate

F1 Fanatic round-up

Jules Bianchi, Force India, Shanghai, 2012In the round-up: Jules Bianchi and Adrian Sutil are leading the running to partner Paul di Resta at Force India in 2013.


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Two horse race for Force India seat as Buemi is ruled out (James Allen on F1)

“According to veteran Blick writer Roger Benoit, this leaves Jules Bianchi in pole position for the seat [at Force India], with former FI driver Adrian Sutil still a possibility.”

Brawn: Aero changes caused slump (Autosport)

“We made a decision to change the structure of the aero group. We had to wait for [new aero chief] Mike Elliot to join us because we had a notice period he had to fulfil at Lotus.”

“The new engines are not going to be silent…” (Peter Windsor)

“Charlie [Whiting] didn’t elaborate here, but (in a nice counterpoint to what would occur in Singapore 27 years later) legend has it that Nelson [Piquet] had selected the exact rail of Armco barrier against which he was going to crunch the Brabham on its slow-down, victory lap in the event that its suspension was still down. Thanks to Nelson?s judicious use of kerbs, the ride height was legally up by the time he reached the potential accident zone, although Nelson couldn?t resist winding up the Brabham boys who were watching a hazy black-and-white TV monitor on the pit wall. Pretending to steer towards the relevant Armco and then veering away at the last second, he gave them all a cheeky wave as he drove on to the podium and thus to scrutineering. The gesture was lost on everyone else…”


Comment of the day

Will anyone follow Ferrari’s lead in using pull-rod suspension at the front of their car in 2013? Thoughts from @JamieFranklinF1:

I?ve been wondering for the past 12 months what may have happened had McLaren adopted the pull-rod suspension at the front pre-season. Their lower nose would have benefited the design more so than the Ferrari, and with Jenson?s smooth style, it would probably have assisted in heating the front tyres for better qualifying performance.

Had it not been for the alterations in the tyre compounds for 2013, then I reckon McLaren would have gone down this route, considering the driver line-up they had. Now, however, it may be too risky. But if any team are to do it, then they could benefit the most from it.

From the forum

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On this day in F1

Ten years ago today former F1 team Arrows went into receivership. Their former base in Leafield, Oxfordshire was later home to Super Aguri and is now used by Caterham.

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62 comments on Bianchi and Sutil vying to be Di Resta’s team mate

  1. Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 2nd January 2013, 11:49

    My guess? It’s going to be Sutil.

    FI continued with the Medion sponsorship he brought to the table but all parties likely agreed to sideline him whilst the legal row was resolved. Vijay’s plan all along was likely to keep him in the background whilst they moved one or both of their 2012 drivers on somewhere else.

  2. verstappen (@verstappen) said on 2nd January 2013, 12:03

    By the way, nice to inform Buemi he Has no chance anymore.

  3. Alex Brown (@splittimes) said on 2nd January 2013, 13:30

    Di Resta: The most boring man in F1. Once offered the job of playing a body on an episode of Taggart.
    Sutil: Most interesting feature being his rather unattractive criminal record. Boo Hiss!
    Bianchi: Unknown…

    All of these drivers have the potential to disappoint, so I’d sign Bianchi (the unknown is always exciting, at least for five minutes) and then write a clause in di Resta’s contract that ensures he attends every race in fancy dress. He will also be obliged to talk about pokemon in all press conferences, and walk backwards everywhere. And drive barefoot, just as an affectation.

  4. Persoanlly I believe Force India would be better to go with the fresher blood. Sutil is a known quantity by the team and he does have pace but I don’t believe he is supremely talented, whereas with Bianchi there is always a chance he may outshine Di Resta. With the financial state Vijay Mallya has found himself in I think Force India ought to take the gamble (and of course any money they can), as it may just pay off.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 2nd January 2013, 14:25

      I’m sure you are right about the money Max, it’s unfortunate but money will probably be more decisive than talent at FI next year. too bad Maldonado is taken.

      • @hohum Ah yes, but Maldonado also brings a financial burden with the amount of penalties and damage he incurs! Seriously though, it’s a shame Force India may have to succumb to the lure of sponsorship money at the possible expense of driver talent, as they were one of the few remaining teams to employ their drivers primarily on talent (Hulkenberg and Di Resta aren’t acknowledged as “pay drivers”).

        They’ll need all the help they can get now though, they had clearly fallen behind both Sauber and Williams on outright pace last year (although they did receive a boost by both beating the Williams with the erratic form of their drivers and of course seemed to be faster towards the end of the year with Hulkenberg leading the Brazilian GP) and money can only help fund development to try and claw back the deficit.

        • Fernando Cruz said on 2nd January 2013, 16:20

          Most of the so-called pay drivers are just as good as other young talents, so that talk about a team chosing a driver based on talent and not sponsorship doesn’t make sense. In the recent wave of talents the best is maybe Hulkenberg, then we have Perez, Maldonado and Grosjean. Perez and Maldonado bring a lot of money to a team but they are really good, better than Di Resta or Kobayashi, who apparently don’t bring too much money with them (but Di Resta has Mercedes backing, so he maybe should also be considered as a pay driver and money from Mercedes maybe is more than the amount of sponsorship Senna has – and as drivers I believe they are at the same level). So Di Resta may have a financial advantage over Senna or Kobayashi (who also raised a good amount in Japan) due to Mercedes and he is where he is also based on that. Bianchi is another one who might win the Force India drive for the amount of money he has, due to Ferrari backing.

          • Most of the so-called at drivers are just as good as other young talents

            Yes, pay-driver isn’t used in the sense it used to be, where they clearly had very little talent but deep pockets allowed them to take part in F1 as an almost “hobby”. Thankfully, such a ridiculous practice doesn’t take place anymore but I still maintain that there are greater talents out there than the likes of Gutierrez for example, that are perhaps being denied an opportunity (for the meantime anyway). Drivers like Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton are good examples of non-pay drivers who are exceptionally talented and I’m sure there are more out there, like Felix Da Costa for example.

          • Fernando Cruz said on 2nd January 2013, 17:15

            Yes, I agree. I only disagree to the pay driver label many people put on drivers like Maldonado or Senna saying they are only in f1 for the money and not talent, even if they had better results in junior categories than a Champion like Damon Hill. Coming from British fans that puzzles me a lot and also when they say Senna won’t get any better because he is already 29, as Hill got better in 1995, at 35 and still better in 1996 at 36.

            At the end of the day all drivers need a huge amount of backing, even the likes of Hamilton (from McLaren since his teens) or Vettel (from Red Bull since junior categories). Nationality also takes a part but I hope Felix da Costa is given a good opportunity in F1 and being Portuguese of course I will be a fan of him.

          • HoHum (@hohum) said on 3rd January 2013, 14:07

            Fernando, right now the “pay” drivers are as you say good drivers, my worry is the trend towards needing sponsors backing before a driver can show his ability by getting a drive, after all F1 drivers become “pay” drivers the owners of GP2, F2, F3, Frenault, will be looking for sponsored drivers as well. Where will it stop? and how will a talented but unfinanced junior driver get the opportunity to show what he can do.

    • I’m not convinced with Senna. I do think the primary reasons he got into F1 were because of his name and his financial backing. I don’t feel he will ever be World Championship material, whereas I could see Maldonado being tamed. After all, it is easier to tame aggression than improve speed – you have to have a certain element of natural talent which I believe Senna falls short on.

      I’d much rather see Felix Da Costa in a race seat than Senna at this moment in time, which is really what it boils down to for me now: there are more talented people out there that I believe are more worthy of a seat.

    • Nickpkr said on 2nd January 2013, 22:00

      Max I found hard to understand why the payers will want the worst driver to sponsor and the “talent” drivers can’t get any, you may be misslead. In fact isn’t actually Alonso’s santader the biggest sponsor of F1 ?

      • Did Alonso have the major sponsorship before his success though? Often success brings sponsorship, as corporations will be looking to increase their media exposure and obviously the best drivers get the most coverage.

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 3rd January 2013, 14:11

        Nick, as Max says success attracts sponsorship but how do you achieve success if you cant drive until you have a sponsor?

        • Fernando Cruz said on 3rd January 2013, 16:09

          That is the bad side of racing at a high level, as it is an expensive sport and many talents are lost or never have the opportunity to develop. It became even worse following the effects of financial crisis. Unfortunately it seems things won’t change. Take F1, costs should be reduced a lot more than they are but Top Teams just don’t care as they only look for their short term interests of winning whatever it costs.

  5. Fernando Cruz said on 2nd January 2013, 18:46

    It’s normal people are not convinced by Senna based on his qualifying form this year. What I don’t think is normal is people considering he won’t get any better. In junior categories he showed more talent than Damon Hill, the only driver we can compare with him as they both started very late and they both had (have) famous surnames. Had Bruno got the Brawn drive he surely would get similar results to those Hill had with Williams in 1993 and with the same conditions Hill had in his time he probably would have done even better. He would be a much better driver by now, much more developed, of that I’m quite sure. Spending 3 years without a proper development (due to the financial crisis) damaged his career badly and he could not improve at the same rate of other young drivers. But he can still improve a lot if he is given a proper chance (without losing 15 FP1) and will surely get better with more experience. Even Damon Hill got better at 36, how could a driver that showed more talent in junior categories not get better??? The only way not to get better (in F1) is not having another chance with a midfield team.

    Yes, Felix da Costa may be way better on potential than Bruno but that is not a fair comparison, as Bruno lost 10 years due to his uncle’s death and still spent 3 years without a proper chance due to the financial crisis. It would be more reasonable to compare Felix da Costa with Ayrton Senna or Sebastian Vettel. Furthermore, being Portuguese, also I’d much rather see Felix da Costa in a race seat than Senna at this moment in time.

    • You compare him to Damon Hill. Granted, he is a world champion and you don’t just win world championships without having a certain degree of skill but I don’t rate him very highly among the select group. As you say (and I agree entirely) Felix Da Costa has much more potential, so you draw comparisons to Ayrton Senna and the like. Well I’m going to now then compare Senna (Ayrton) and Hill: one is considered the greatest racing driver in history, the other filled the void left by him. One is a three-time champion, the other a one (granted, Senna has had more fast cars but Hill had the fastest car in at least two seasons with good but not great teammates, unlike the Senna/Prost combination).

      If you ask the question of whether I’d rather have Ayrton or Damon in my team, in a heartbeat I’d pick Ayrton. That isn’t the point though, the point is I think Bruno is a decent driver but he’ll never be a brilliant driver, unlike perhaps Felix Da Costa or less probably Bianchi who have the potential to be.

      • Fernando Cruz said on 2nd January 2013, 22:33

        Damon Hill was also decent but was never brilliant. He just had the chance to develop his skill much more than Bruno and at a time there was almost unlimited testing. He had the ideal conditions to develop and improve as a driver, but I believe any other driver would get similar results with the same conditions and the same cars he drove in F1 from 1993 to 1996. That includes some 90% of f1 drivers of the ninetees and close to 100% of drivers of the current f1 grid. Had Ayrton not died Hill could only win a race if both Ayrton and Michael could not finish and he would add only a few more wins to the 3 he got in 1993. Yes, he did well against a Prost that had been out of racing in 1992 and was already 38 or 39. After Imola in 1994 he was completely dominated by Schumacher and could only be a match in the championship due to the many points the German lost with penalties and everything, otherwise the difference would be some 30 or 40 points at least instead of 1. He improved in 1995 and even more in 1996 but was champion having by far the best car and a rookie as a team mate. At Hungaroring in 1997 he had maybe the race of his life but don’t forget Pirelli tyres were by far better on that day. Yes, he won with Jordan but in 1999 he could do nothing against Heinz-Harald Frentzen, way better than him with the same car. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t intend to devaluate what Hill did even if I did just that as I don’t rate him very highly either. The point is that I believe if Bruno Senna was English instead of being Brazilian maybe some people wouldn’t be so harsh on their judgements. The fact is that Bruno qualified in Q3 for 50% of races he competed with Lotus in 2011, so that proves he has much more raw speed than he showed in a year he could put his car in Q3 only for 5% of the races.

  6. JackySteeg (@jackysteeg) said on 3rd January 2013, 0:18

    If F1 2013 will be anything like F1 2012, then the intense midfield battle will be won by the occasional spectacular performance rather than solid and consistent finishes.

    If Force India want that 5th place in the constructors, they can’t afford to have a pair of solid but unspectacular drivers. A string of top-10 finishes will mean squat if Sauber can pull off a handful of podiums again.

    I feel that, while both unquestionably quick, Di Resta and Sutil lack that certain spark that could put them up front on a drizzly day, or that would enable them to hold their own against Alonso. I reckon FI would do better with Kobayashi or Kovalainen, or even Alguersuari.

    Bianchi, well… he seems to have been hovering around F1’s higher feeder series for years and has not been exceptionally breathtaking. But I suppose we’ll never know how good he is until he races in a Grand Prix, so with the choice being to either take a risk with him or play it safe with Sutil, I’d choose to risk it with Bianchi.

  7. Denis 68 said on 3rd January 2013, 2:37

    If Force India are serious about finishing in the top 5 in 2013, they will need better driver’s than Di Resta and Bianchi to achieve this.

    Di Resta has been beaten by every F1 team mate he’s had and Bianchi failed to win the GP2 or WSR 3.5 Championships dispite only driving for front running team’s in those series.

    Force India in 2013 could very well be running two of the most over rated drivers motorsport has ever seen.

  8. forcef1 (@forcef1) said on 3rd January 2013, 4:05

    Di Resta was very clearly shaken by the news from Mercedes and McLaren..all his confidence from Singapore must’ve withered away..he must be given 1 last chance @FI IMO..if he can become consistent throughout the season, he could get as many as the Hulk even though he lacks qualy pace of his former teammate

    That leaves us with 1 seat which must be given to Kobayashi/ Kovalainen..Kobayashi will have some money through his fans(cheers to evryone who donated), and he looks more spectacular in a car-goes well with the larger than life attitude of Vijay Mallya+a lot of potential Japanese supporters for FI..I’d pick him :D

  9. Nickpkr said on 6th January 2013, 23:10

    Kobayashi with podium no drive, Di resta drive ?

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