Sutil to make F1 comeback with Force India

2013 F1 season

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

  1. AlokIn (@) said on 28th February 2013, 13:13

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

  2. roadie said on 28th February 2013, 13:19

    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.

  3. sumedh said on 28th February 2013, 13:25

    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.

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

      • Ilanin (@ilanin) said on 28th February 2013, 14:43

        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.

        • @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”!

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

          • @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.

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

    • +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.

  5. Ilanin (@ilanin) said on 28th February 2013, 13:34

    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.)

    • 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??

  6. melkurion (@melkurion) said on 28th February 2013, 13:46

    I like Sutil, and I”m glad he got the seat. ( I kinda got soured on Bianchi after he threatened to sue Robin Frijns last year)

    But I think the suspence had nothing to do who got the seat, but the underlying implications,
    this was never about Sutil or Bianchi in my oppinion, but about 2014 Sahara Force India Mercedes, or 2014 Sahara Force India Ferrari

    Personaly , Ithink they made the best choice, but only time will tell

    • @melkurion Well, if Max Mosley hadn’t taken the Jerez ’97 business seriously, I’m sure Jacques Villeneuve and the whole Williams team would have sued Michael Schumacher. Unfortunately, the same things don’t happen in World Series by Renault, even today. Bianchi ‘threatened’ to sue probably because of the adrenaline after the race, and the sheer wickedness in Frijns’s move. He didn’t really, because after he’d cooled down well after the race, he realised that WSR were not going to do anything about it apart from slapping Frijns with a Drive through penalty.

  7. Hotbottoms (@hotbottoms) said on 28th February 2013, 13:48

    While we’ve seen many experienced drivers being replaced by a rookie, this time I had hoped Force India would choose Bianchi instead of Sutil. I hope Sutil shows he deserves this second chance, it’s very rare these days for a non-champion to make a comeback to Formula One.

    • Joe Papp (@joepa) said on 1st March 2013, 2:50

      it’s very rare these days for a non-champion to make a comeback to Formula One.

      In a sense then, one could say that Sutil IS a Champion, for his has made a heroic return to F1!

  8. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 28th February 2013, 13:54

    All systems dull at Force India.

  9. Ben (@scuderia29) said on 28th February 2013, 14:02

    Theres been such uproar this winter about talented experienced drivers being axed for young pay drivers with no experience, but when a strong experienced driver like sutil makes a return theres people raging that Bianchi didnt get the drive :S seems weird to me, it seems like people want a heap of fresh faces in formula1 while at the same time having all the drivers that have proved themselves stay at the same time, the problem is there are just 22 cars and about 32 drivers people want to see race.

    • Joe Papp (@joepa) said on 1st March 2013, 2:49

      “Theres been such uproar this winter about talented experienced drivers being axed for young pay drivers with no experience, but when a strong experienced driver like sutil makes a return theres people raging that Bianchi didnt get the drive…”

      This is what’s known as the phenomena of people who just simply like to complain about something, regardless of what it is.

    • wsrgo said on 1st March 2013, 5:40

      @scuderia29 We want to see young talents. Chilton and Razia are not that talented, van der Garde is not that young. Bottas, Gutierrez and Bianchi would have been a great ‘rookie trio’.

  10. I don’t like Sutil, i think he’s an arrogant person, and shouldn’t have been given a second chance!

  11. Kimi4WDC said on 28th February 2013, 15:24

    All the best to Adrian and FI!!!

  12. Poor Jules. Lambasted by all for 2 ‘poor’ seasons in GP2-despite finishing 3rd in both, beating teammates Sam Bird and Esteban Gutierrez. Then went to FR3.5, let down by his team at Aragon, when his superb drive deemed no points after a disqualification by his team for a technical infringement. Fought tenaciously, but was viciously attacked by Robin Frijns at Barcelona and thus lost the championship. Tested nine times for Force India last year, but denied race seat by someone who hasn’t raced for fifteen months. Now faces the tough ordeal of being a 3rd driver for a whole year, and no deal specifying a race seat for 2013, or test sessions for the same.
    I won’t be surprised if he gets demotivated by what has happened to him after 2009, and leaves the FDA(who have failed, and have been utterly useless in getting any young driver into F1) as well as single-seater racing. It’ll be a big shame.

  13. Michael Brown (@) said on 28th February 2013, 17:12

    That pretty much guarantees Di Resta getting beaten by his teammate again. At least he beat Vettel in F3…

    • wsrgo said on 1st March 2013, 5:36

      @lite992 In 2006 you mean? Vettel was contesting a dual campaign of Formula 3 Euro Series and Formula Renault 3.5, while DiR was only focussing on the former.

  14. JackySteeg (@jackysteeg) said on 28th February 2013, 19:29

    Surely the man who’s most worried about this decision is Di Resta.

    Bianchi is almost certain to get the 2014 race seat, but with Sutil back in the frame, Di Resta has a real task of keeping his seat next season. If Sutil beats him (again) then I can’t see any reason why FI would keep him.

    Although the general opinion is that Sutil’s achievements are a bit underwhelming, he is an undeniably formiddable teammate. You could argue that his performances effectively ended the once-promising careers of Cristijan Albers and Tonio Liuzzi… perhaps Di Resta is next?

  15. I totally understand why FI slashed Sutil in 2012. They were fed up with him doing the minimum he could get away with and there was a better option available, Hulkenberg.
    Now the situation has changed and Sutil is the best option for FI. While Sutil might have a lot of shortcomings he’s undoubtedly very talented. Definitely fast but at times he game across as unmotivated and sometimes lazy. It was typical of Sutil to up his game when questions were being raised about his future. The rest of the time he didn’t seem to be bothered to put in the effort. Maybe he’s learnt his lesson now. If that’s the case FI is lucky to have him as I consider him to be among the 6-7 most talented drivers in F1. Let’s hope Sutil does his best this year and don’t settle for “good enough” again.

    • Gordon (@gfreeman) said on 1st March 2013, 10:37

      They were fed up with him doing the minimum he could get away with…

      He did finish the drivers championship in 9th, ahead of the other midfield (let alone the back-marker) teams. I’d hardly call that “doing the minimum”…

      • I agree he did well, but it wasn`t his best effort. Sutil has never had a full season where he pushed all he could in every race. Tha usual pattern has been sub-par performances untill he started to fear for his seat. Then he would suddenly turn on the heat and perform much better. Can you imagine how frustrating that must be for a team? I also suspect Sutil loved the fast life and that had something to do with what happened in a certain incident.

        I think that, combined with the fact that Hulkenberg was up for grabs, was the reason Force India axed him for 2012. But now they need him again as di Resta is not exactly setting the F1-world on fire and their other options are a shot in the dark, at least for now. Sutil is a known entity with potential for more than he`s shown this far. Let`s hope sitting out the 2012 season was a wake-up-call for sutil, then he might very well surprise a lot of people this season.

        • Gordon (@gfreeman) said on 1st March 2013, 17:22

          I can see what you mean but with an underwhelming car I think it’s unfair that people expect them to “set the F1-world on fire”. But I think like it has already been mentioned, his time off has given him perspective and he’ll feel more of a need to push harder. I think after a few seasons in the same team and in a slowish (I say ish because when the 3 new teams joined it wasn’t as slow as them) car a lot of drivers might start to slouch a little. Not saying it’s okay, but I guess that’s how it goes.

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