Like a phoenix from the ashes of racing despair, Adrian Sutil has returned to Formula 1, one year after his unceremonious exit from Force India. He beats out test driver and Ferrari prodigy, Jules Bianchi, to gain the coveted seat.
Second chances in sport are seldom and in Formula 1 they are even more unusual. Given recent circumstances this may be even more unusual! Sutil’s signing comes in spite of an assault conviction for an attack in a nightclub in Shanghai after the 2011 Chinese Grand Prix.
In my previous blog post I assessed the credentials that Sutil and Bianchi have to their name. Perhaps the greatest policy written on a rusty manifesto, was his funding. An estimated $8 million contribution would be looked upon favourably by a team known publicly for their financial woes.
Naturally the German has expressed nothing but joy at his return. It will be interesting to see how different his times are. Back in Barcelona for pre-season testing, the pressure on Sutil is, for the most part, relieved until Australia. For the first time, real time comparisons can be made.
Considering that he was first linked to the seat before Brazil’s epic finale, one can’t help but think what could have been for Jules Bianchi. Retained as their reserve driver for 2013, the Frenchman must now rely on Di Resta or Sutil to make a career costly mistake.
Indeed, hiring Sutil suggests that Force India are looking for short term benefits, quick financial solutions to common Formula 1 problems. The investment into Bianchi may come at a later date but ultimately we cannot deny Sutil this chance. With established relations healed between a team and driver once in conflict, only time will tell how correct a decision this was.
Many are annoyed by the time it has taken, I myself am included here. On the plus side, however, the season really does feel close now!
Previous blog post on the drivers – ‘Bianchi Vs Sutil’: https://stoodonthepodium.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/bianchi-vs-sutil/
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