Sutil to make F1 comeback with Force India

2013 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Adrian Sutil, Force India, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Adrian Sutil will return to Formula One with Force India this year, the team have announced.

Sutil was picked ahead of rookie Jules Bianchi for the final seat on the F1 grid this year.

“I?m very happy and I want to thank Sahara Force India for giving me a second chance,” said Sutil.

“Having been away from the sport, I?m even more determined to achieve my goals in Formula One. Things went really well at the Barcelona test last week and it almost feels as though I?ve never been away.

“Driving the car felt so natural and I was able to get back in the groove quickly and find the limit. Now my focus is on making the most of the final test session this week, working with the team in the simulator and getting myself in the best possible shape for Melbourne.”

Team principal Vijay Mallya said the decision “has not been an easy one” and that Sutil’s “experience and historic links to the team gave him the edge”.

Mallya added Sutil “will provide us with the best possible chance of realising our ambitions for the coming season”.

“If he can rediscover the exceptional form he showed in the second half of 2011, I?m confident that we can pick up where we left off at the end of 2012.

“As for Jules Bianchi, he has impressed us enormously with his speed and work ethic, and I?m hopeful we can continue working with him this year to help him develop into a future Grand Prix driver.”

Sutil drove for the team between 2008 and 2011, and in 2007 when it was Spyker. But he was dropped from the team’s line-up at the end of 2011 and replaced by Nico Hulkenberg.

In January last year Sutil was given a suspended jail sentence for an incident in a nightclub in Shanghai the year before. He was found guilty of wounding Eric Lux, the CEO of Lotus owners Genii Capital, after hitting him with a champagne glass.

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105 comments on “Sutil to make F1 comeback with Force India”

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  1. *sigh*
    I did like Adrian a while ago, but somehow I feel this decision is a bit short sighted…

    Maybe another indication of how cash strapped teams are lately?

    1. Force India claimed they have secured fifty million dollars in new funding at the end of last year.

    2. Sutil’s just given some interviews in the paddock here in Barcelona. He said he only found out he will be racing this year three hours ago!

      1. Wow!! Thats too much of suspense!

    3. I also get the feeling that FI were getting fed up of having drivers race with the team, do well and then promptly go to another team. It could be one of the factors weighing on their minds, the fear that Bianchi would race for a year and then be snapped up by another team while FI would be left holding an empty seat to fill.

      Im not overjoyed that Sutil has been chosen again but then again I wasn’t drooling over Bianchi either. FI has always made their picks work. Liuzzi worked for the first half of 2011, Nico worked for the latter half of 2012. Hopefully, Sutil can put in a decent outing. Don’t see the team winning races though, however, 5th or 6th would be excellent in terms of final ranking.

    4. Well I for one think it’s great news! Good on Sutil! I think he deserves to be in Formula 1.

      And if anyone disagrees with me I’ll smash you in the neck with a glass!!


  2. I just wish, after all this anticipation, the result could’ve been more exciting…

    1. +1

      What a dull ending to the silly season

      1. Well, we still might get KAR or Deletraz for Marussia ;)

        1. As much of a shock as that would be, I’d rather see Karthikeyan peacefully retire from Formula One. :P

        2. @meander It was confirmed a couple of weeks ago or so that Razia would be taking the second Marussia spot.

          1. @brazil2007 If you think that one is over, then you haven’t been paying attention lately ;)

          1. That article is from weeks ago, Razia hasn’t been in the car since the first test.

    2. it was gonna be him or bianchi, and i personally think theres enough rookies on the grid this season

  3. That announcement took as long to arrive as Kingfisher Employees’ salary. Happy to see him back :)

    1. Ha ha….brilliant!

    2. Can’t compare it with Kingfisher employees’ salary! Most of them haven’t received it yet!

    3. Cotd. Mallya is fooling nobody here.

      Sutil is an adequate driver with occasional flashes of competence. It took him years to get that far.

      Ferrari aren’t prepared to pony up money to get bianchi into a seat. They’ve never been much of a driver development squad and that’s not about to change. They’re of the opinion that the best of the established drivers should request the honour of driving for them, once the scuderia have judged them worthy. Promoting from the ranks implies that it’s up to ferrari to impress drivers, not the other way around.

  4. He’s a safe pair of hands, a known quantity. It’s always disappointing when a team chooses a driver that we know what he’s capable of instead of going for a fresh face that could be a great new talent. Sutil will do a good, maybe even at times great job but as a spectator it’s still disappointing to see him chosen over somebody with potential.

  5. Hide the glassware…..

    1. Whose neck is on the line here?

      No really, it’s expected this but s(u)till I don’t like it.

  6. On expected lines maybe this indicates that the team does not have much confidence in di Resta’s feedback on technical aspects of the car. Hence they chose Sutil familiar face, they know what to expect.

    1. It’s not about the driver. It’s about Mercedes engines for 2014.

      1. don’t be surprised that they go with Ferrari for 2014. but they will normally go with what McLaren go…. lets wait.

      2. What connections does Sutil have with Mercedes?

        1. Nationality

  7. Huge word out on the street: Kovalainen to Marussia.. Anyone know anything more?

    1. And your sauce?

    2. I’ve heard those rumours to but I would be surprised if there is any substance to them. Marussia made it known to the media that Glock was dropped for financial reasons, so I highly doubt they would take on board Kovalinen, who flatly refused to gather sponsorship for Caterham. It seems entirety illogical they would essentially do a like for like swap with two drivers in a similar position, when they admirably admitted publicly they were intending to hire a pay driver.

      1. I would have thought Petrov would be a more likely replacement, especially considering the Russian connection. Unless his sponsorship has totally dried up which would be a shame with the Russian GP looming.

  8. He’ll do exactly the job he’s there to do – score solid points and generally not crash the car or do anything bad. Unless he flips out and starts shoving bits of glass in people’s faces again, of course.

    No, he’s not ever going to be considered in the same league as Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel. He’s not going to be a champion. He’s probably not even going to win a race. But since he could never have done any of those things in a Force India anyway, who cares? He’s brought money to the team worth far more to them in pace than Hamilton would be able to deliver. So why would they care if he’s a star of the future? Last time I checked, it wasn’t in their remit to help train up the next generation of McLaren and Ferrari drivers.

    1. @mazdachris – I am not interested in dependable points scorers who have had their time to shine, I am interested in Antonio Felix Da Costa and to a lesser extent Jules Bianchi – promising young drivers, who do have the chance of being in the same league as Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso. I see where you are coming from and perhaps sponsorship and dependability are in the best interests of the team, but Bianchi has more promise; that is reason enough for me.

      1. Good thing you have no relationship with Force India then, because they couldn’t care less about what you’re interested in. They don’t need a future champion.

        1. @pamphlet – I believe I speak on the behalf of many other F1 fans with that comment: I certainly watch F1 to see the best drivers in the world, not somebody who’s pretty good. Bianchi is closer to that ideal than Sutil.

          1. Except:
            1. At the moment, due to the lack of experience and his erratic recklessness, Bianchi is worse than Sutil
            2. The F1 fanbase is junk.

  9. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    28th February 2013, 12:53

    I honestly don’t understand all this dreariness with regard to the return of Sutil. We should be celebrating the return of some true talent to the sport. In 2011, he really impressed me. In my opinion he did the best job of the mid-pack drivers. His consistency, qualifying speed and ability to extract the maximum from the car made him, in my opinion, the favourite to replace Schumacher at Mercedes. However, his performance was somewhat blotted out by the blind patriotism that comes with having a hopeful new British talent, and the crave for another Lewis Hamilton. Let’s not get bogged down by the rather underwhelming nature of his career statistics, because Sutil had one race, namely the 2009 Italian GP, where he had a car good enough for the front row, and where was he; the front row. I know I’m going to have my tongue bitten out for saying this but I really think Sutil is better than KK, and I fully expect him to outscore Di Resta this year. End of. Kobayashi was a quick but inconsistent driver kept afloat by the deluded patriotism of Japanese fans. Not get me wrong, his departure is a loss to F1, but it is not on the same planet as the sheer tragedy of loosing Heikki Kovalainen. I know this is all rather subjective, but name me a scenario where Sutil had a car good enough to qualify well and then ruined it with a poor start/mistake? I can’t, but if it was Kobayashi I could say Canada ’11, Japan ’11, China ’12… So there you have it, an alternative perspective; now shoot me down in flames…

    1. Yes! He should have never left. And instead of leaving F1, he should have found a seat in a outfit capable of fighting for victories.

    2. @william-brierty 2011 was his peak, I doubt he’s capable of more. And to be honest, he took his time to get there, didn’t he? 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010… all years of pretty much no rivalries within the team (except 2008 and 2009 when he generally lost to Fisichella).

      His 2011 should’ve been even better considering how experienced he was.

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        28th February 2013, 13:43

        You say that you doubt he’s capable of more, but how much more do you really want. 2011 was not 2012, the grid was spread out, so being able to maximise your car’s performance only a consistant and regular basis is perfect, and explains much of Force India’s 6th placed WCC ranking, despite the fact that Sauber had, in my opinion, the faster car in 2011. And you say that Fisichella beat Sutil in ’08; would that have been the case if Raikkonen hadn’t run into the back of him Monaco? No. And anyway Fisichella was a vastly more experienced driver than Sutil during their partnership, and had no excuse to lag behind a relative newboy. Fisichella is the classic example of Martin Brundle’s “he had a chance”, because he is the man that drove the epic R25-6 Renaults, who awarded Alonso two championship, but only two wins to Fisi. Also after leaving Force India found himself in the F60, which was by then a regular points scorer; did he score any? No. Sutil has not had the chances Fisi has had and am more than happy to see him on the grid.

        1. And you say that Fisichella beat Sutil in ’08; would that have been the case if Raikkonen hadn’t run into the back of him Monaco? No.

          @william-brierty Yes ! he overtook people under yellow flags, remember? he’d have been penalized (or was he anyway?).

          I’m not happy to see him there. As I said yesterday, he’s a faster Liuzzi, a good Trulli at times and not as talented as a Fisichella.

          1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
            28th February 2013, 17:08

            Oh dear, forgetting our F1 history are we? Sutil had already been penalized and was extremely well placed to score Force India’s first points, which would have easily lifted him above Fisi. I don’t think Sutil would have been so apoplectic had he had a penalty hanging over him…AND after a safety car period which obviously closed the grid up and and would have meant he would have finished last! In terms of Fisichella vs Sutil, I would agree that Fisichella at his best was better than Sutil at his best, but a top form Fisichella only rocked up every 40 races or so, whereas in between strong performances Sutil consistently still maximized the performance of the car underneath him. And you’re talking about 2008/9; Sutil’s developed as a driver substantially since then. What we saw in 2011 was very much the perfect midfield driver; a consistent and reliable points scorer, so whilst I expect Di Resta to get Force India’s best race ranking at some point during the season, perhaps even a podium, I expect Sutil’s consistency to put him ahead in the WDC.

    3. @william-brierty I agree with you. I’m happy to see Sutil back. Both he and di Resta are strong drivers and I’m expecting a tough battle between them.

      For sure, some might consider Kobayashi to be better than Sutil and that’s just normal. But if Sutil ‘has had his chance’ then imho Rosberg, Massa and Webber should be thrown out of F1, too.

      1. I don’t agree with the idea of ‘having your chance’ in F1. Not every team is looking for the next Ayrton Senna. If a driver is a solid, dependable points scorer, who takes opportunities when they’re there, then why should he be obliged to move over and make way just because he hasn’t become world champion in a few years? How many people would have been saying that Jenson Button had his chance before he won his first race? And yet here he is, one world championship under his belt and a genuine contender for another this year.

        I would agree that if a driver was in a top running team for several years, with a car capable of winning races, and consistently failed to deliver wins, then they should be considered for the chop. But otherwise, what chance have you really had? In what way did Sutil fail to capitalise on the opportunities which were given to him?

      2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        28th February 2013, 13:49

        How has Rosberg “had his chance”? He had a car good enough to win on one occasion, where did he finish? P1.

    4. I am reasonably pleased that Sutil is back as well. If he beats Di Resta this year again then that is Di Resta’s career over. But Fisichella stuck the car on pole in 2009, and Sutil was 11th so what you say isn’t strictly true.

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        28th February 2013, 13:46

        What you’re forgetting there is that Sutil went the wrong way on setup in Spa ’09, so qualifying 11th has nothing to do with ability.

        1. I think Setup does have something to do with ability… your ability needs to read what you’re feeling in the car correctly to make the right changes. If your feelings lead you astray, and you make the wrong changes, what else could be at fault?

        2. Well I was confused by your point about Sutil only once having a car capable of qualifying on the front row. Regardless of whether he went the wrong way on setup the fact his teammate stuck it on pole, so the car was capable. Just as when Hamilton went the wrong way on setup at Spa he too had a car capable of getting pole.

    5. There isn’t that much between Kobayashi and Sutil really. If you look at their respective last two seasons, they were quite similar. In the first both were highly consistent in the first half of the year only to fall of the radar in the second half, in the second season both were inconsistently scoring big points.

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        28th February 2013, 16:51

        I cannot begin to explain how wrong you are. Shall we compare the second halves of the 2011 season? Well, Sutil scored points six times, whereas KK scored three times. I would hardly call that an inconsistent second half for Sutil, however that is a miserable performance from KK, and a perfect illustration of why Sutil’s better. I think this is a pretty fair comparison too, because the excellent Force India development had cured the VJ04’s deficiencies, thus leveling the playing field between Sauber and Force India in second half of the 2011 season. You are confusing the trend we see in Kobayashi and Sutil. Whilst Kobayashi hit the ground running in 2011 scoring plenty of points, but the emergence of Force India midway through the season very much humbled his charge. Sutil’s performances are more closely correlated to the ultimate performance of the car, and very much follow Force India’s signature positive development curve, thus resulting in a weaker first half and a stronger second half. So whilst Sutil can blame his poor start on an understeering car, Kobayashi had as good a car as he could have hoped for throughout the season, and therefore has no real excuse for the tail off in performance. 2011 is a good comparison of Sutil and KK because the cars were broadly on the same page in terms of performance, however there were worlds between the VJ03 and the C29, so 2010 is not really relevant.

        1. @william-brierty I was comparing Kobayashi and Sutil’s respective last two seasons, which meant I was comparing Sutil’s 2010 to Kobayashi’s 2011

          1. I missed your last sentence, although I still don’t see how Sutil is any better.

          2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
            1st March 2013, 9:53

            I agree, there’s not that much between them, however whilst Kobayashi is arguably the quicker driver, Sutil’s consistency, his regularity, versatility and ability to extract a large percentage of the performance on offer gives him the edge for me. It’s the Hamilton vs Button argument again, because whilst Hamilton may be faster and more spectacular, Button’s intelligent and smooth driving style got him more points than Lewis over their partnership. As Alonso proved this year, modern F1 is not always about bringing home the wins and the podiums; it’s all about the points.

  10. I like Sutil, I think he deserves more credit than people give him. However, I would’ve likes to see Bianchi race as well. Wish they would have replaced Di Resta…

    1. I generally agree, I’m not the biggest fan of Bianchi though.

  11. Good news..Sutil deserves his place in F1..

  12. I’d be nervous for him to be travelling to races like the USA and China with very strict Visa regulations, they have stopped boxing matches for people with convictions so they woulnd’t be fussy about this.

    Lets hope he has done his homework.

    1. They’ve already indicated that it wont affext on these cases. As far as I know from the work I do, having a suspended conviction will not affect travel to the US, and given the offence took place in China, I imagine there won’t be any trouble there.

  13. Sutil vs Fisi – who was quicker?
    Glock vs Trulli (Toyota 2009) – who was quicker?
    Now as a yardstick Fisi was an above average driver but that’s all. If you were going back to a driver with experience why pick Sutil over Glock?

    I’ll stand by my many comments regarding Sutil. He is a hack, someone who has had a significant length of time in F1 previously to be objectively measured by all F1 teams and to be rejected by all other F1 teams. Why FI have gone back to him I really do not know…

    1. I think a more valid viewpoint is that the only team which has an objective measure of Sutil is Force India, the other teams’ views (just like all of ours) are subjective. If Force India have a driver that they know is very capable why would they reject him just because the other teams haven’t picked him up?

    2. @clay

      If you were going back to a driver with experience why pick Sutil over Glock?

      When none of the teams wanted Glock for the last three years, what makes him special now? I read somewhere that he had a chance to drive for Renault in 2010 but choosed not to. Nobody would have talked about Glock if he was still on the grid, even if he was driving a car that does him more harm to his career than good and takes him nowhere. Jus because he left the sport, everyone misses him now as a great talent. I think the team principals know better than us. Sutil will do no worse than Glock would.

  14. Adrian who? The American-bar fighter. I’d prefer Rubens!

  15. This news almost cut my throat…. I mean, catch my breath

  16. I would love to see Bianchi and Sutil racing for force india.

    1. I personally think this means “bye bye di Resta” for 2014 and Sutil and Bianchi will drive for FI. But we’ll have to wait and see.

  17. I believe FI now have the most experienced driver pairing in the midfield. That will count for something when competing against a bunch of rookies and inexperienced drivers.

    1. I don’t think so, Hamilton and Rosberg are surely a more experienced pair of drivers :-P

      1. I dont think Mercedes is a mid field team!

        1. That’s a bit uncharitable. I mean, they certainly haven’t met their own targets but I wouldn’t call them backmarkers. They definitely deserve to be considered midfield

  18. Luckiest driver in F1 today?
    1. Team runs into financial difficulties.
    2. The rookie turns out to be over-hyped.
    3. The team-mate proves to be nothing special either.
    4. All better drivers do not have cash backing.
    5. Other rookies with cash have been locked in by the lesser teams.
    6. The court gives only a suspended sentence allowing him to race everywhere.
    7. He gets some decent sponsors of himself in spite of his off-track theatrics.

    You know what. I don’t mind putting a fiver for Sutil to take a freak podium or win early, such is his luck! Remember, he is no slouch in the wet.

    1. haha.. that was fun.
      But luckiest driver in F1 currently? My answer: Felipe Massa

      1. Massa? Hungary 2009 by itself is sufficient to make him not just the unluckiest man in F1 but one of the unluckiest in the entire world. Let’s recap:

        1) A large spring falls off Barrichello’s car

        A part of any sort falling off that car is unusual. The Brawns had bulletproof reliability in 2009, and even when Barrichello used his car as a battering ram in Australia it held together. The fact that it was a spring rather than a section of bodywork is even odder, and even more unlucky.

        2) This spring stays on the racing line after bouncing seven times

        This is stupidly improbable. Each time the spring bounces it has to land on its end, not flat, so that it bounces again, and it has to land relatively straight so it doesn’t fall off to the side.

        3) Massa is in the car behind

        This is probably the most common of the various events that had to happen for the accident, and it’s a 1 in 20 chance.

        4) Massa manages to intercept the spring when it’s at the precise height to hit him in the most vulnerable part of his helmet

        Seriously? If you tried to stage this you’d need a hundred attempts. A tenth of a second either side and it’d have bounced off the bodywork. A slightly different line into the corner and it’d have missed the car entirely.

        5) All of this happens in an area of the circuit that’s fast enough to cause serious injury

        At the Hungaroring. The slowest track on the F1 calendar except Monaco.

        If Massa has been lucky on other occasions, it’s because he used up all his bad luck inside a few minutes in 2009.

        1. @ilanin
          Heres why i feel Massa is lucky.

          1) To survive a life-threatening accident in 2009. Thats luck.

          1) To be beaten by a new team mate in 2010, and then in 2011 and 2012 and still retain his seat in a top team. Thats luck.

          Sutil raced for Spyker and Force India in 2007 and 2008 respectively in cars that were unreliable and the slowest in the grid. He out-qualified and out raced his teammates in 2007 and closely matched his experienced teammate in 2008. Yet, people include those years and think he had his chance and didnt “set the world on fire”!

          1. Er..his teammates were Christijan Albers, Markus Winkelhock, Sakon Yamamoto in 2007. Sutil was expected to do better.

          2. @1abe
            I don’t think that its luck that he survived.
            He was incredibly unlucky to be hit by that spring in the first place. I mean, what are the odds of the spring being in that exact spot, at exactly that moment in time where Felipe drove across the track. Its like one in a gazillion. But he was hit.
            That is insanely unfortunate.
            On the contrary he was “lucky” that the hit wasn’t square in the face. That is it.
            I think that in that incident the bad luck outweighs the good luck 10 fold. More even. Therefore I would still consider it very bad luck. It could have been worse, sure, but I don’t think that getting a spring smacked in the face at close to 200mph is lucky. I would rather be without that experience to be honest.

  19. I didn’t think Sutil deserved to lose his seat in the first place, so I welcome this news.

    1. +1
      Exactly, i wasnt a fan but he was the better of the 2 in second half of 2011, which in reality is when paul should of been getting better.

  20. Two pieces of statistical food for thought, one for each side of the argument:

    Yes, it’s true that Sutil beat Di Resta in 2011, Di Resta’s debut season. But that was accomplished in the typical way a more experienced team-mate would perform against a debutant – Sutil outscored Di Resta 18 points to 2 in the first ten races, and then Di Resta scored 25 points to Sutil’s 24 in the final nine. I doubt there’ll be particularly much in it this year.

    Secondly, think about the prospects of a driver who has raced four seasons in F1 for an improving midfield team (finished 7th, 6th, 8th and 3rd in the constructors). He’s put in a few good results, finishing on the podium five times (once in each year, twice this year as the team improved), but hasn’t been particularly impressive overall, finishing 14th, 14th, 12th and 9th in the WDC. Would you sign him for a squad that hopes to win races next season?

    (You should – the driver is Nigel Mansell at the end of 1984, and he’ll win 30 races in the next seven seasons. Not every driver matures at the same rate.)

    1. very true, Klein and JA are another 2 that went to early. Chucked on the scrap heap despite clearly getting better and better. and in JA case how can you right an F1 driver off at 21??

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