After a one-year absence, Adrian Sutil is back in the cockpit with Force India. The German was tipped to take over from Nico Hulkenberg after he was included for the pre-season test at Barcelona last week. The 30-year-old pipped last year’s reserve driver Jules Bianchi, who will continue in the same role this season as well.
“I’m delighted to be back in Formula One, especially with a team I know so well. Having been away from the sport, I’m even more determined to achieve my goals,” Sutil said.
Now that he’s back, Sutil wants to cash in on the moment. “Things went really well at the Barcelona test last week and it almost feels as though I’ve never been away. Now my focus is on making the most of this week’s final test session and getting myself in the best possible shape for Melbourne.”
Team principal Vijay Mallya said there had been a lot of deliberation before arriving at the decision. “It was a close call, but ultimately we felt that Adrian’s experience and historic links to the team gave him the edge, and will provide us with the best possible chance of realising our ambitions for the coming season,” Mallya said.
Force India replaced Sutil with Hulkenberg at the end of the 2011 season as the former was facing a criminal trial for assaulting Belgian Eric Lux, an executive with the Renault (now Lotus) team, following an incident in a Chinese nightclub in March 2011.
Lux was left needing stitches in a neck wound caused by a champagne glass. Sutil was found guilty in January 2012 and given an 18-month suspended prison sentence with a fine of 200,000 euros.