Who should drive for Force India in 2012?

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Adrian Sutil, Paul di Resta, Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 2011

Force India face a difficult decision over their driver line-up for 2011.

In Adrian Sutil, Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg they have three credible candidates for two race seats.

Should they plump for performance over consistency? Experience over potential? Compare the drivers and cast your vote below.

Adrian Sutil

Sutil enjoyed better form in the second half of 2011 than the first, being one of several drivers who raised their game as they became more familiar with the Pirelli tyres.

His season got off to a shaky start as he was often out-qualified by di Resta. He turned that around in the final races and ended up edging his team mate 10-9 over the course of the year.

Sutil is being compared against two drivers who have had only one season in Formula 1 so it’s worth reminding ourselves of his form in his debut season. Driving for the short-lived Spyker team in 2007, points were seldom on offer but eighth place in the rain-soaked Japanese Grand Prix put him on the board.

He compared well against Christijan Albers, who was dropped halfway through the year and Sakon Yamamoto, who spent the final seven races with the team.

The team became Force India the following year and Sutil has remained with them ever since. Only Felipe Massa has been with his present team longer than Sutil.

They are well-placed to judge his strengths and weaknesses and decided whether the experience of Sutil is worth trading against the potential of his two team mates.

Paul di Resta

Di Resta impressed in his first season of F1, not least by completing more laps than any other driver.

Di Resta wasn’t just dependable. He was also quick, taking sixth on the grid for his home race at Silverstone – Force India’s best qualifying result of the year – and was especially impressive on the streets of Singapore, bringing the car home in sixth place.

It’s no secret that the ultimate measures of performance were tilted in Sutil’s favour at the end of the season: he out-scored di Resta 42 points to 27, finished ahead ten times versus six, and spent 562 laps ahead of his team mate compared to 479 for di Resta.

But this is hardly an emphatic margin of superiority for a five-year veteran of the sport versus a first-timer. Particularly when Force India’s late-season strategy of splitting strategies between their drivers is taken into account – a policy that ensured the team collected vital points for the constructors championship but, as with di Resta in India, could leave one of their drivers vulnerable.

Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg, Fernando Alonso, Interlagos, 2010

It was no reflection on Hulkenberg’s ability that he failed to keep his place at Williams in 2011. The scarcity of sponsors’ logos on the FW33, aside from the PDVSA stickers arriving courtesy of Pastor Maldonado, tells you all you need to know about what happened there.

Hulkenberg’s 2010 record is dismissed by the unenlightened as ‘one fluky pole position’. This is nonsense – not least because his season-defining performance at a damp Interlagos produced not one but two lap times which the likes of Sebastian Vettel were unable to better for pole position.

Hulkenberg made his mark earlier in the season with another notable (though less celebrated) qualifying performance in the rain at Sepang, lining up fifth, half a second ahead of Rubens Barrichello.

As the season progress he was increasingly on a par with Barrichello in the races too, and scored points in six of the last ten races.

Small wonder Force India snapped him up as he slipped through Williams’ fingers, and have taken every reasonable opportunity to give him mileage in practice next year.

Who should drive for Force India in 2012?

Who do you think should drive for Force India next year? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Who should drive for Force India in 2012?

  • Some other combination (2%)
  • Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg (59%)
  • Adrian Sutil and Nico Hulkenberg (15%)
  • Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta (24%)

Total Voters: 363

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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129 comments on “Who should drive for Force India in 2012?”

  1. I voted Hulkenberg + di Resta on one condition : that Sutil can find another seat. All three drivers are great drivers. But I think Di Resta has potential, and Hulkenberg even more! It’s essential that Hulk gets a race seat : he needs to evolve, because I think he has a lot to show in F1. Sutil is talented, but he has spent to much time in Force India, he needs a bit fo change I think. A move to Williams could be positive, because I think the team will perform better next year, and Adrian could look good in an improving team!

    1. Totally agree, Sutil deserves a better team. Hope he gets that Lotus (Renault) seat along Raikkonen.
      Di Resta and Hulk might make FI look all young and fresh but I can’t help a feeling that the team will get less competitive without Sutil.

      1. I have thought for a couple of seasons that Sutil needs to change teams to progress his career, I would love to see him take Massa’s seat at Ferrari and would even suggest a straight swap… Massa might have the experience and speed that Force India need to take that next step up the grid and start challenging Lotus and Mercedes for 4th spot.

        Di Resta has had a storming rookie season, even better I feel that Hulk’s last season… and for that reason deserves a seat.

        Hulk was impressive in his rookie season and continues to impress in FP, he really needs a race seat to continue his improvement as a driver.

        Force India to my mind has a number of problems that are hindering it… the biggest of which is that they need a faster car and the ability to maintain the development of their car throughout the season, my question is which drivers are best able to do that….

    2. As soon as I saw this article,I had the same thought, DIR + Hulk with condition that Sutil going to Williams, you stole me words ;)

      1. Sutil won’t be going to LRGP; not with glass wounds in Eric Lux’s neck.

        1. They had a little “incident” with Kimi too last year. Now it looks as if nothing happened.

          1. Verbal Spat vs Nightclub Glassing. Which is more easily patched up?

          2. @jholland

            Which is more easily patched up?

            The verbal spat is hard to patch up because of the emotional trauma involved, but the glassing only requires a few stitches :)

        2. It seems the team is now willing to ignore that unpleasant incident @portugoose, so I think Sutil could end up either in Enstone (with Kimi, the man who punted him out of a spectacular Monaco finish!) or at Williams.

          I think Force India needs to take a step to a freshened up line-up and its a good step to give Hulk the chance to show he can be at the front of that move with DiResta.

          Sutil might thrive from a new environment as well (just look at Heikki!) as he is a really solid driver and it would be nice to be able to see how he does against another driver in a different team.

          1. Well said, I also chose for Di Resta + Hulk, though I do think Sutil is deserving of a seat in F1; Sutil hasn’t outperformed the team, and the team haven’t always given him the best equipment, esp. later last year. Maybe it’s time for both to try a different set up and get some fresh energy from their growth through the 2011 season.

    3. I feel the exact same way, but I defaulted to keep Sutil. I just hope he gets a drive.

    4. But I think Di Resta has potential, and Hulkenberg even more!


      how is that true? di resta fair enough he has had an excellent season and is looking very good, but hulkenburg?? he had a mediocre season in terms of performance finishing 14th with less that half the points of barichello. i know that he was more experienced, but a true talent gets closer to their experieneced team mate like di resta this year and hamilton in 07. this article is also misleading people about hulkenburgs performances, in sepang 2010 alonos, massa, hamilton and button were all out in Q1 and Q2 because they didn’t st banker laps and button went onto the gravel. this means that if we were to put them back into the equation that it would have been a ninth place, nothing to celebate about really.

      the pole position was not flukey at all…. but it was not based on performance at all. all the teams knew that the race would be dry, so they set the car up for qualifying instead of the race and what happened, he finished 8th. any top ten car could have beat vettel with a wet set up on a wet track when vettel had a dry set up.

      sutil deserves this seat and i dont see why he should be pushed out for a competely overated driver. sutil is a great driver and if vijay mallaya doesn’t go with sutil then he will know how wrong he is by the end of 2012

  2. Im Scottish so obviously Di Resta would be my 1st pick for the seat if i was picking my favourite driver

    However on what i’ve seen Suitil deserves to go into 2012 as the No1 Force india drive, had some awesome drives in 2009 when he got a decent car after spa so he hasnt suddenly found form after 5 years!

    The Hulk has impressed me since his A1 days and if i had to i would say i rate his 1st season performance JUST over Di Resta’s 1st season as well

    However i’ve thought all along that Hulk and Di Resta will be the two drivers they choose

  3. Maybe Vijay should be the one pleading for 3 car teams.

    1. It’s so hard to pick! I chose di Resta and Hulkenberg, because Nico deserves a seat and Paul has been excellent. Sutil’s been awesome in the second part of this season, and I wouldn’t drop him, but out of those three drivers I think he’s the one with more options to consider as he’s been in the team for too long, and the one with less margin of improvement.

  4. Adrian Sutil has been an incredibly good driver this season. Unlike last year, Vijay Mallya has a very tough decision to make. On the one hand, Sutil and di Resta have both been really good; on the other, Nico Hulkenberg really impressed in 2010 and deserves a chance. I prefer the di Resta/Hulkenberg liineup because both guys are my own age and Hulk is really good-looking. But in terms of ability and with Force India’s gains on Renault this season, as a team boss I might be looking to keep Sutil as I know he is a great driver and will be less of a risk than two with only a season under their belt.
    However, Paul di Resta had a good season and surely he can only get better next year. With Sutil likely to end up at Williams, he will not be lost from F1 like Nico will be if he’s not chosen. And Williams could do with a decent driver to partner Maldonado. Sutil will also bring them a bit of cash. (I don’t think Barrichello will stay in F1 next season)
    Sutil has been at that team for a very long time, and it will be good for him to have a change. Sometimes, having a punt on inexperienced drivers works, as Sauber have proven.
    So I am going for di Resta and Hulk.

    1. I prefer the di Resta/Hulkenberg liineup because both guys are my own age and Hulk is really good-looking

      Not entirely sure you’re looking at the same aspects as Vijay and the rest of us ;)

    2. Nico Hulkenberg really impressed in 2010

      other than brazil which drives can you remember of hulkenburgs?? (without using wikipedia)

      brazil 2010 was overated, he had a wet set up for the session when all teams knew it was going to be dry and in the race he paid the price, the team went for glory on saturday, thats all

  5. I feel the current combo is the best. Experience is needed to continuously develop the car. And two drivers with one year of experience can only provide you with so much, however good they are. We saw that happened with Senna and Petrov this summer and Eric Boulier has himself said, Nick didnt contribute much, and not much was expected from Petrov and Senna. Paul needs atleast another season to gain more experience.

    I really wish for Hulkenberg to get a seat, but I dont think there is one where he can be accommodated. May be a test role at Mercedes, with move to drivers next season.

    1. @rahul1810

      I really wish for Hulkenberg to get a seat, but I dont think there is one where he can be accommodated. May be a test role at Mercedes, with move to drivers next season.

      If Hulkenberg were to join Mercedes as a test driver in 2012, he won’t be promoted to a race seat in 2013. His career will be pretty much over. Mercedes placed Paul di Resta at Force India, and they are obviously grooming him for bigger and better things. They probably want to get him into a Mercedes GP seat once Schumacher or Rosberg retires or moves on. If Hulkenberg joins them as a test driver, then that means another year on the sidelines; he’ll have spent two years out of a full-time drive while Paul di Resta – the favoured son of Stuttgart – gets two full years of racing experience. If you were Ross Brawn and you had two young drivers and one of them had two years’ racing experience while the other was limited to testing and Friday running for two years, who would you pick? The smart money picks Paul di Resta each and every single time.

      Nico Hulkenberg’s problem is that there is already a fast, young German driver in the sport: Sebastian Vettel. Hulkenberg cannot fill that niche unless Vettel retires tomorrow. His old maanger, Willi Weber, appears to have spotted a role for Hulkenberg to fill: as Michael Schumacher’s heir – the driver who Schumacher gave his blessing to as the next German sensation in Formula 1. In order to do that, Hulkenberg needs to race alongside Schumacher (filling the second Mercedes seat), or directly beneath him (filling Schumacher’s current seat, with Schumacher mentoring him). But with Mercedes grooming Paul di Resta or a future with the team, Hulkenberg needs to make his case to them, and he needs to make it quickly. If he wants Mercedes’ attention, then the easiest way to do it is to trounce di Resta within Force India, to show Mercedes that Paul di Resta is fast, but Nico Hulkenberg is faster. That’s the only way he’s going to get that Mercedes drive.

        1. @rahul1810 – Williams and Renault are looking unlikely. Sutil is sponsored by Medion, and Medion are owned by Lenovo. Lenovo just left Williams for McLaren, so Sutil will have a hard time convincing one of their subsidiaries to join them.

          As for Renault, Adrian Sutil was accused of glassing one of their team members, Eric Lux, in a Shanghai nightclub shortly after the Chinese Grand Prix. Why on earth would they take him after that episode?

          1. Because it is business. last year Kimi had thrashed the Renault team in public for saying that they were having talks in advanced stages in him, when there was just one contact, but look where he is now.

            You can’t really say what is happening. At Interlagos, Sutil’s manager was seen talking to various teams including Renault. You can never say ever in this business. However chances of Renault even I admit are low, as the incident was big and recent.

            However I feel, if Renault wishes to challenge Mercedes next year, it would be simpler having someone with experience of Sutil alongside Paul, and likewise if Force india wish to move up and challenge Renault, they need Sutil. Its obvious that I I am not suggesting that they can’t without him, but it would be easier with him.

            Its exciting predicting the market. Hope the mystery gets solved fast!

          2. @rahul1810 – Even if Renault can forgive a case of grievous bodily harm, why would they give up Petrov for Sutil, when Petrov brings twice as much money to the team? As you say, “it’s all business”, and Vitaly Petrov is a better deal than Adrian Sutil.

          3. By business, I did nit mean money. I meant what is best for the team, no matter of heart involved. Also I dont think that difference between Petrov and Sutil would be that huge. The team must also think, is 5 million extra brought by him better or a supposedly better performance in championship.

            I know the chances are less, but what I mean to say is, its not impossible.

          4. I meant what is best for the team, no matter of heart involved.

            Drivers aren’t just assessed on talent. They’re assessed on their sponsor packages. If they can bring millions of dollars into a team, then that is good for the team.

      1. @Prisoner Monkeys

        Mercedes placed Paul di Resta at Force India, and they are obviously grooming him for bigger and better things.

        As you would say on Wikipedia. Citation please!

    2. We saw that happened with Senna and Petrov this summer

      Who are “we”? Are there more than one person writing under your name? What happened this summer with Senna and Petrov?

      Better yet, find the (in)famous Petrov’s interview and read it. He basically says new parts were coming in but they worked poorly on the car due to the front facing exhaust. They were racing pretty much the same car all season long.

      1. Well said …

        I’d put money on any driver doing mediocre in the R31. The car hardly progressed all season.

  6. I’m going to throw another hat into the ring: Vitaly Petrov. Especially if Adrian Sutil (who is said to have $8 million from Medion) leaves the team.

    Vijay Mallya is doing a very good job of covering it up, but Kingfisher Airlines is visibly limping, and I don’t think the ruse is going to last for much longer. He’s paying 20% interest on bank loans in an industry where the average is between 6 and 7%, and he’s refusing a public bailout. The team has a $100 million buy-in from the Sahara Group, but most of India is going to be watching Mallya very closely – any excessive spending is going to upset both the applecart and the public. The exact amount that Vitaly Petrov brings to the team is unknown, but it is said to be around $15 million, which is about the going rate for a major sponsor these days. I think it is unlikely that Kingfisher will appear on the car in 2012, in which case Petrov’s money will isolate the team from the airline, and insulate it from the fallout if Kingfisher goes belly-up. Furthermore, Petrov would be of use to Force India: he is, after all, the man who protected Renault’s fifth place in the WCC this season. Without the points Petrov scored in the second half of the year, Force India would have surpassed Renault. I think it would be in Force India’s interests to try and secure someone who raked in enough points in a bad car to head them off; he’s evidently done something right, given the way Force India finished the season. That said, I think the idea of Petrov joining Force India is unlikely.

    However, if Kingfisher does go belly-up, then all bets are off as to who will drive for the team, because it is unlikely that Vijay Mallya will stay with the team.

    1. KingFisher is not the only Indian Airline in trouble. Also, with Sahara in the picture we wouldn’t know how much power they have in driver choice. Mallaya has always maintained FI as a exhibition for his products, hence the absence of any other sponsors(which Joe-Saward thinks is trouble for FI-till Sahara came along). Even if Kingfisher airlines went bankrupt Mallaya’s UB group is still making enough in liquor sale. Also Mallaya has enough problems at hand, why add one more to the circus?

      1. KingFisher is not the only Indian Airline in trouble.

        Nope, but it’s in a pretty precarious position. In fact, all of them are. If one of them goes under, they could drag other airliners with them.

        with Sahara in the picture we wouldn’t know how much power they have in driver choice.

        Sahara control 42.5% of the team. Vijay Mallya controls 42.5% of the team. The other 10% is controlled by Mallya’s business partner, Michel Mol (who organised Spyker’s entry to the sport). If Kingfisher spirals out of control, Mol could join with Sahara to form a minorty shareholding, and Mallya would lose all his power in the team since Mol and Sahara would control 52.5% of the team.

        Even if Kingfisher airlines went bankrupt Mallaya’s UB group is still making enough in liquor sale.

        I’ve heard he’s going to try and use over a billion dollars from United Breweries to leverage Kingfisher. It’s an incredible risk, because if Kingfisher goes, it will drag UB down with it – and so far, none of the loans from banks and consortiums have made much of a difference to Kingfisher.

        Mallaya has enough problems at hand, why add one more to the circus?
        Why indeed? He’s already up the proverbial creek without a paddle – maybe he should give up control of Force India now and focus on saving Kingfisher. He won’t be able to control the team if Kingfisher (and possibly UB) goes. At least this way, he’d get to salvage something out of it.

        1. @prisoner-monkeys

          Sahara control 42.5% of the team. Vijay Mallya controls 42.5% of the team. The other 10% is controlled by Mallya’s business partner, Michel Mol

          You say “the other 10%”, but there is 15% remaining. Does someone else control 5%? And where do you get all these figures? I’m not challenging them, I’m just curious.

          1. Press releases when deals are confirmed to the media

          2. @estesark

            You say “the other 10%”, but there is 15% remaining. Does someone else control 5%?

            No, Mol controls that 15%. It’s just a mistake on my part – I added the parts up wrong.

            And where do you get all these figures?

            Just general knowledge, really.

            Press releases when deals are confirmed to the media

            Why do you always assume that I simply regurgitate what I read in press releases and pass it off as my own knowledge, TheBrav3? You did it the other day when I pointed out parts of Venezuelan law that would potentially make the PDVSA-Williams illegal. I do read articles, and I do read press releases, but I read much, much more than those. I often go off and research things on my own, so that I understand the subject better and my posts here can reflect that.

          3. Because PM you have learned it from a source most likely from a press release first. This information does not appear in your head by magic as it doesn’t with anyone else fair enough?

        2. Just as we see with countries and banks, it’s about exposure; I don’t know how Mallya organises his debts, but it is à possibility that hè Has to sell out

          1. ..and in that case all bets are open again. If the new owners need money, who knows? Sutil + another paydriver?

            Although, if I were to decide now, I would go for DiResta and Hulkenberg.

            Sutil fought decently this last half year, but I think it’s better for both himself and the team if he goes elsewhere.

    2. hey, are you Petrov manager, boyfriend or something? I mean, you just talk about how good Petrov is .. how money he brings… … and bla bla bla bla bla …

    3. Hmmm.. I think your pretty badly mistaken. I did a case study on Indian businessmen and I like to believe I know a thing or two about Dr. Mallya.

      Kingfisher Airlines is NOT the only thing he earns. In fact, it contributes to less than 10% of his net worth! That statement itself buts your whole comment to waste. He is/was a member of Indian parliament and hence the data is available.

      Look up United Spirits Ltd. (USL) and more importantly the UB group. You’ll see why your COMPLETELY off the mark.

  7. Paul and Sutil.

    1. Meant to say Hulk and Sutil :(

      1. I reckon force india isn’t the kind of team to drop a new hopefull after a season unless they do terrible. They even kept tried and tested liuzzi on for a year after he replaced fisi.

        So 100% paul will be there then i hope nico will join but i have a feeling that adrian maybe required as insurance on the point scoreing front. I don’t think they have a chance of getting 5th in the constructors next year but they wont want to go back to 7th or lower either.

        I have to say though the last 3 races nico and paul have looked rather happy like 2 guys who may know they already have contracts but have to keep quiet. Adrian on the other hand looked pretty much more nervous about it each time he was asked race by race untill brazil when he put on his poker face.

        I’m probably wrong but thats my impression from watching those 3 guys. Tomorrow fi may announce a team japan line up of takuma sato and sakon yamamoto stranger things have happened.

      2. I went Hulk an Sutil. Hulkenburg has probably enough potential to become a top line driver..

        Sutil I don’t think will ever be great, however he is solid enough and has been there since the start, which I think is invaluable to the team.

        All three should be in F1 however, I think Di Resta also has a place in F1 and has the performances to back that up. For a rookie he has been impressive.

        1. I’ll back up my Sutil point by saying, he’s only been outscored by a team mate once, Fisi in 09. And he got more than double the points Liuzzi could manage in 2010.

  8. Went for Sutil and Di-Resta. Though the points margin might not be that big for a F1 Veteran versus Rookie comparison, have to take into account the limitations of the car which would mean that the point differences won’t be big given the way the midfield was bunched up. Di-Resta did a very commendable job, but made some crucial mistakes(Canada) and lost some major points with which he could have easily bettered Sutil.
    As for Hulkenberg, I don’t remember his pole lap much, but his battle with Hamilton whom failed to pass the Williams till the first round of pitstops. Nothing else springs to mind except his rally across chicanes in Monza. I believe FI would rue the coming season if they were to let go of Sutil.

    1. I know it’s thrown around alot on here but if you don’t remember it i would advise you to watch it again it was a brilliant lap. it was last man over the line stuff so much so that williams took their first pole in 5 years?

      1. Hardly last man over the line stuff since he was on pole even before he finished his last lap!

        1. hahahaha yes but he was the last man over the line before the checkerd. :)

  9. Definitely Sutil + Hulkenberg: Sutil has shown incredible pace this season (6th in both the German as the Brazilian GP), not to mension the team needs someone with more than two seasons of experience. Now that’s sorted, we should now choose between Di Resta and the Hulk. That’s easy for me: I believe Hulk has much greater potential than Di Resta.

    I get extrenely annoyed by the British media, saying he’s awesome every single day I’ve watched the BBC this year. For instance, giving him the ‘Rookie of the year award’, which clearly should have gone to Sergio Pérez. Luckily Mallya isn’t British, so he might make the right choise for the team.

    1. choi-c-e for the team.

    2. Sutil + Hulkenberg is what I picked as well. Di Resta was really good in his rookie season, but he still hasn’t been better than Sutil. Hulkenberg deserved to be on the grid this year and definitely should be given a shot after the pace he has shown on Fridays .

      Its a hard decision as all the drivers are really strong contenders. But I would think Sutil has the experience and speed to remain a valuable asset, while the 2nd seat is taken by a new young hot shot driver.

    3. These are pretty much my thoughts on the matter too. Hulk definitely has more potential than Di Resta IMHO (even though I am British) and Sutil, once he got used to the rubber, has been very impressive.

      I expect Di Resta to be a reserve driver. Those that think he is too good to go back a step maybe should remmeber what happened to Hulkenberg after his pretty good first season.

  10. Dammit Sutil…why can’t you be either completely rubbish or completely good in a season, not a combination of both! :D I’ve gone for Di Resta and Hulkenberg, only because I think it’d be good for Sutil to move onto a different team and mature even more as a driver. He’s only moving as fast as Force India are at the minute.

    1. I just hope all three of them find seats for next season. It could work out like this:

      Force India: di Resta, Hülkenberg
      Williams: Sutil, Maldonado
      Lotus/Renault: Räikkönen, Petrov

      I don’t think Lotus/Renault would hire Sutil, and I don’t think Hülkenberg would want to return to Williams.

      1. Ugh! Petrov doesn’t deserve that Reault seat. Sutil, Hulkenberg and Di Resta are three good drivers fighting for an FI seat, while a sub par pay driver is securing a seat in a better car.

        I hope we see a Raikkonen/Sutil combination at Renault, then I wouldn’t mind seeing a Di Resta Hulk combination at FI.

  11. Di Resta & Hulkenberg. I am a scot too, however, i think the Hulkenberg will destroy him, and i hope he does- just to silence the british media. Hulkenberg destroyed every one in the lower categories, and he has stated that the williams team of 2010 was baisically rubens’ team and whatever he said went. Force india dont seem to look as if they have a clear no. 1 driver, so i think this will be an ideal team for him to prove his skill. Hopefully if he does crush Di Resta, 2013 you might see Rosberg Hulkenberg line up at Merc.

    1. Hulkenberg destroyed every one in the lower categories

      Romain Grosjean and Vitaly Petrov kept him pretty honest in GP2 back in 2009.

      1. Well, Grosjean got 45 points, most of which came from three great races at the start of the season before things dropped off. And Petrov got 75.

        Not that honest I think…

        Nico’s team mate that year was ironically one Pastor Maldonado, who scored a whopping 36 points to Hulkenburg’s 100.

        Nico Hulkenburg has a pre-F1 pedigree matched by very few others.

    2. Why do you think williams did what barrichello said? Might it be something to do with them needing the car to go faster and him having at the time 18 years of f1 experience? Next to a complete rookie who had no idea what development or setup choices to take and was focusing 100% on improving his own speed compared to his team m8?

      1. Yea, Rubens was the man they would look to setup their car, – there is no arguing the logic behind that! However if you are driving a car getting moulded around someone else’s driving style, unless your style is similar, it will have a detrimental effect on your performance. Same goes with Hülkenberg driving a car modelled around Rubens.
        If he gets a drive, I will easily put £20 on him destroying Di Resta.
        Also, yes he got a pole in changeable conditions, but if Di Resta got a pole in changeable conditions the whole of Britain would be hailing him as the next senna for crying out loud! There is no denying a pole in your rookie year is an amazing achievement.

  12. It isn’t an easy choice as all three drivers seem to be very competitive and certainly deserve to be in F1.

    Sutil and di Resta would probably earn more points than any other realistic driver combination. But it is also true that di Resta and Hulkenberg have less experience, they need more time to prove their value. So I think if Williams takes Sutil than di Resta and Hulkenberg are a fair choice for Force India.

    1. That’s a fair assessment from my vantage point Girts.

      Expanding on your comments, however, I would say that what I haven’t seen when scrolling through all 64 comments is why Hulk-di Resta is good for FI. So what is Force India left with if Hulkenberg scorches di Resta next year (or vice versa) and moves to Mercedes in 2013?

      I say Sutil’s points and 9th overall are what FI needs. Considering that there were 5 WDCs, Webber in a Red Bull, and Mercedes ahead of FI, Adrian’s 2011 was highly successful – full stop. And I would like to see him continue beating di Resta next year to silence his critics. If he gets moved he can prove nothing. At Williams he can only prove he’s better than Maldonado whom most have judged poorly. Or at best put the car in a place it shouldn’t be. But he’s already done that this year by beating Renault.

      1. True that. Sutil was best in the “best of the rest” behind red bull, mclaren, ferrari, and mercedes drivers. 5 of whom were WDC drivers.

        To me that is an impressive achievement.

  13. I voted Di Resta & Hulkenberg but it is a very tough decision for the team. Adrian has 4 years more experience than the pair of them.

    I hope that if they do go with Paul and Nico that Adrian gets the other seat at Williams and stays in the sport, he doesn’t deserve to be just left on the sidelines in a test role or something.

    I don’t think it’s fair that Adrian should be in this position when Jarno Trulli and De La Rosa just cruise into seats for next season.

    Anyway good luck to the 3 of them, i’m glad it’s not me making the final decision on this!

    1. @rob-wilson Exactly my thoughts.

    2. Whilst DLR has a seat I don’t expect Sutil would even want to drive for HRT, given the option. He’d be better of as third driver at Merc.

  14. Like i said : Adrian Sutil is the bird in the hand. The others 2 are the birds in the bush. We saw a lot of drivers along F1 history “born talent, dead hope”. I’m not saying that DiResta and Hulkenberg will be in this situation, but…..is a great BUT..

  15. I’m so tired of hearing of drivers assessed on qualifying performance. There are no points on a Saturday, and yet some days it seems that more is read into qualifying than race performance.

    No doubt Hulkenberg belongs on the grid, maybe he deserves the drive and Force India will want to keep him on case Di Resta goes to Mercedes in 2013, but his quali performances are no indication at all of how he’ll do as a consistent points scorer versus either Sutil or Di Resta.

    Look at the fuss over Senna’s first and last qualifying efforts of the season – look at his race performance at those two events…

    1. I’m so tired of hearing of drivers assessed on qualifying performance.

      But qualifying and racing are so completely different that they’re almost entirely different disciplines of the same sport. The ability to qualify well is crucial to establishing a driver’s worth. When you have one driver beating another by 15-2 in qualifiying – as we saw with Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli this year – then something is clearly very wrong. A driver’s ultimate race pace is his defining trait, but that doesn’t mean the importance of qualifying should be downplayed.

      1. @Prisoner-Monkeys What about the Hamilton 13 Button 6 qualifying result in the context of this argument?

        1. What about it? Like I said, a driver’s ultimate race pace is his defining trait. Button might have been out-qualified by Hamilton, but Hamilton was out-raced by Button.

      2. Yup I generally agree, it is very different. Although if Trulli had then beaten Kovi in the races, I wouldn’t care where he qualified. But as you say, something is clearly wrong there. I never rated him anyway except as a quali specialist… and if he can’t even do that…

    2. Because qualifying shows the inherent pace of the driver and accumulating points is more of a race craft which driver learns eventually over experience. Shining example: current WDC.

    3. Maybe you’re tired of f1? Either that or very new to it. There has never been a champion in the history of f1 who wasn’t able to do quick laps, it’s the first requirement a driver needs to meet and thats why it’s talked about. In qualy or the race is not important. First a driver needs to demonstrate that ability and then he needs to deliver it when ever the team requires it.

      This year the redbull drivers could not give you a more stark display of this, Sebastian Vettel sets hot laps on a saturday gets pole and gets the championship by a margin of 120 points. he’s led something like 1000 laps this year. Mark Webber didn’t qualfy well that ruined his races and he finished 3rd in the championship and it could have been alot worse. If you think mark couldn’t have won all the races seb did if he had started from pole you’re wrong he absolutely could have. Still think qualy isn’t an important characteristic for anyone looking to win in f1?

      1. No, I’ve been watching F1 for nearly 30 years and have read plenty on the years before that, but thanks for the patronising lecture.

        Nothing I said suggested quali shouldn’t be discussed, simply that drivers shouldn’t be assessed on it – meaning assessed in isolation or, as sometimes seems to be the case in forums, as if it were of greater significance to race pace. That was obviously a given, surely I don’t need to spell out every word?

        Quali only took on its current status comparatively recently, largely due to its increased importance in the era of little or no overtaking, and especially during the single-lap quali years – there was nothing like the obsession with it in the 1970s when I started following F1. That era of mobile road-blocks has now thankfully passed and so relative to race performance, it’s of small significance unless one is truly hopeless at it.

        Webber was always a fantastic qualifier who flourished in the single lap era, his performance this year has more to do with his appalling starts and the fact he simply isn’t as good as Vettel. His race laps in clean air were not on a par as Vettel pulling out several seconds in just a few laps in Brazil demonstrated (to name but one of many). If you think that he’d have won the championship by being on pole, you’re dreaming, as with most of his starts his pole positions would not have lasted till the first corner . But you seem to have an axe to grind on that and it’s largely off the point. Unless you’re suggesting that Vettel is only champion because of his quali ability – in which case, why bother with Sunday? Maybe you’re the one who’s tired of F1, but I like to watch all 70 or so laps

  16. I want all 3 of them to have a drive next season, they’ve all impressed at some point in the last 2 years and all deserve a seat. Although I’m expecting FI to drop Di Resta unfortunately.

    1. I’m expecting FI to drop Di Resta unfortunately

      Nico Hulkenberg was offered a contract with Virgin this year for the seat that ultimately went to Jerome d’Ambrosio. It wasn’t widely advertised until he parted ways with his manager, Willi Weber. Weber said that Hulkenberg was offered the contract, but turned it down because they felt that racing against and being beaten by Timo Glock would damage Hulkenberg’s career. As of Interlagos, there were five German drivers on the grid; Hulkenberg would make six. Germany has more drivers than any other nation represented on the grid. So you can understand why racing against Glock was unappealing to Nico Hulkenberg. If what was true then remains true now, Hulkenberg may be equally-apprehensive about racing against Adrian Sutil, though he has to balance that against never racing again – Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher might be able to make comebacks after two (or three) years out of the sport, but Hulkenberg will not be able to. Especially if his reason for rejecting offers from other teams is his unwillingness to race certain other drivers for fear of hurting his career prospects.

      1. If you look at Virign’s season, I’d say they made the right move. No one was going to shine in that car. They even managed to be beaten by ‘broken-by-the-first-corner’-HRTs!

        The only redeeming value of this enterprise, after two full seasons in competition, is that they allow for Timo Glock to earn a living driving F1 cars. However slow they may be.

        One can only hope they will add to that with the McLaren hook-up!

        1. Nico was right to get rid of that ….. willi weber. Both of timo’s team m8’s have given him a run for his money since virgin came along. Lucas di’grassi beat him in a car that had a fuel tank to small to last the race. No one cared. d’ambrosio has no ride for 2012 despite finishing above timo in the championship no one cares. racing for virgin is proffesional suicide and web is a fool for even bringing that option to nico.

  17. If they get rid of Sutil, they’ll create one of the most promising line-ups in the grid with Hulkenberg and Di Resta. Neither is a “crash kid” kind of rookie, and both are very quick.

    Sutil had his chance. He never impressed me, to be honest. Fisichella was usually faster than him when they were team mates, and now a rookie comes along and puts his future with the team in doubt. That’s not good sign for a 5 year veteran, specially if there’s another very quick youngster waiting in the wings.

    1. @fer-no65 My thoughts as well. Sutil has managed to have a good last half of the year with some help on the strategy front. That’s not a great state of affairs after 5 years in the sport.
      Last year he was getting plaudits for “eliminating the rookie mistakes” – after 4 years of embarrassment. Mistakes his new rookie teammate has already eliminated in the space of one season.

      1. @hairs yet in Korea he looked like a rookie again. After FOUR years…

  18. Me! LOL!

    Seriously, it would be a shame for any of the FI drivers to fall off the F1 radar. This year’s race drivers have both demonstrated their worth. Sutil did a solid job to beat Di Resta overall which is to be expected given his experience over Paul.

    Paul got close enough to Sutil to justify a second season in which to consolidate and improve and I think if the pairing stays the same I think Paul might just show Sutil a clean pair of heals in 2012. There is something merciless and relentless about his character whereas I think Sutil can let his chin drop from time to time which is a weakness.

    The Hulk has been dominant in every category en route to F1. His underwhelming debut F1 season can be explained by the fact he had to learn F1 in a car that was difficult to set up. He got their in the end though and I’m certain he’d ruin Barrichello nowadays if they were paired up again.

    Keep Di Resta for definite but make sure whoever isn’t in the sister car gets in a Williams. We need these guys to come through the ranks, not retire prematurely to IRL or sportscars. That said, if next years Williams is a peach I’ll be wishing Di Resta was in it!!

  19. I think Di Resta + Sutil would be best for Force India development.
    I think Di Resta + Hulk would be the best entertainment.

  20. I voted DiResta and Sutil, just because Hulkenberg wasn’t exactly impressive over all of 2010, but he had highlights I’ve yet to see from another newcomer and can’t wait to see him active for another season.

    Reading through this post I’m completely confused again, FI really do have an immense luxury problem. I don’t really care about what happens, as long as all three get to drive for a proper team.

  21. went for Sutil+Hulkenberg. Been thinking about this a couple of days .. 1 thing that is clear for me is that Sutil has to stay. He provides the team with experience and solid points. The number two should in my oppinion be Hulkenberg. Di Resta was good this year, but i don’t know .. he didnt really shine in the last couple of races. It’s not how you start the season, it’s how you end which is important for next year. I’d give Hulkenberg a change.

    1. it’s difficult to shine if the team put you in a one-stop strategy or something ridiculous like that.

  22. hi. i think Robert Kubica – Sutil

  23. or Robert Kubica – Di Resta

    1. Robert Kubica has already said that he will not start the 2012 season. And no team will sign him up without knowing that he is fully recovered from his injuries.

      1. robert can not start the tests in February, Robert did not say that it does not start in the season 2012

  24. The line-up should be Di Resta and Hulkenberg. I would think that Mercedes would like this to happen, so they can pick one or both to graduate to the works team, if good enough.

    Sutil improved over the season and beat a rookie. Was his improved performance down to getting to know the tyres or the realisation that his job was on the line?

    Hulkenberg and/or Di Resta could become one of the top line drivers in the future, so deserve their shot at F1.

    I think that Sutil may end up at Williams. A change may do him good and perhaps we may see him flourish. Make or break time for Adrian.

  25. It’s a shame that every combination a really good driver is going to miss out. I voted for Di Resta and Hulkenberg just because I feel they both could do really well with a second season under there belt. Di Resta had a very stable first season and can build on that, whilst Hulkenberg had a good first season, even on pole for Brazil, only to get thrown out the car just because a driver with more cash wants a seat. Sutil is a good driver, like many he struggled with getting to grips with the PZero’s and once he got over the hurdle, he was good not great but many drivers didn’t do great. It would be a risk as many have said having two young drivers in the car but they are both hungry and both are quick but hopefully a good backroom staff could help with interpritating the telematry and such to help the R&D. Sutil doesn’t deserve to be kicked out of F1, he still has pace and he’s relitivly young and deserves another drive somewhere, Williams most likley but I can’t help but feel that Lotus (Renault) might have his name in the hat as well.

  26. I went for Nico and Adrian combination; something I have in common with the other 18 people who voted for the same duo.

  27. For FI I think the best would be to take Sutil and Di Resta, but as a fan, I must say I am getting bored with Sutil.
    He is a good driver, but not great, and he just seem to have gone stuck in the midfield not really doing anything spectacular or interesting. Di Resta and Hulkenberg might not be as good, yet, but they could become. For that reason I would like to see both get another shot, and hence I voted for Di Resta and Hulkenberg.

  28. Force India F1 – To Adrian Sutil I donno if he will be driving for the team next season. This might have been his last race with our team. But he drove like a Hero for our team from the very 1st day & was a special P6 at Brazil. He drove with all his heart & will be always remembered. I dont want him to leave our team. Feeling very sad :-(

  29. Force India F1 – To Adrian Sutil I donno if he will be driving for the team next season. This might have been his last race with our team. But he drove like a Hero for our team from the very 1st day & was a special P6 at Brazil. He drove with all his heart & will be always remembered. I dont want him to leave our team. Feeling very sad :-(.. I want Sutil & the Hulk ofr Force India F1 2012

  30. To me, Sutil and Hülkenberg are the best drivers out of the three.

    It’s fascinating to see someone of Sutil’s abilities (probably not WC material, but still top third of the field IMHO) and consistent sponsor backing kicked out of a team, and potentially out of F1 after this year.

    The most pressing question to me seems whether Paul lost out to Adrian based on experience (curable) or talent. (not so much)

  31. Di Resta and Hulk for me.

    Although Sutil has done a good job this year and in the past 3 years he’s been evolving as a top driver, he needs to move on to a different team to gain more experience and further his value.
    I also believe that Hülkenberg might outperform Di Resta but there’s only one way to find out..

    1. Sutil 4 yrs bro !

  32. See guys more than potential of new comers, focus on the car capabilities.. Sutil knows the car & team in n out… at times these factors play alot to be winning as a team.. Nico n Paul will not be able to contribute as much as Sutil did.. Reason being, he had a handful experience on how to deal with probs in car n how to get thins done within th team. Nico & Paul, both new comers will have to learn n experience what Sutil did in 4 yrs.. Todays competition we cannot afford to hv 2 new comers, u need a senior there guiding every race.. Sutil did that role efficiently.. am just hoping the cars are highly efficient with 2012 specs, so that both new comers ease into the car with the season start date..

    1. I can’t help but feel that a lot of people overestimate the amount of input that the drivers have in the development of the cars.
      The simple fact is that all of the teams will have smart guys who can explain everything to the drivers if need be (and will probably have to many times to even the most experienced). Whilst I don’t doubt that a driver will improve a bit better at setting the car up or steering the development, it would surely be those with more talent and willingness in this area that would be the most useful, especially with the limited testing.

      And honestly, I don’t believe we really know who is good and who isn’t in the paddock in this area

  33. Without a doubt Paul and Hulkenberg; both have already shown more talent than Sutil who has had fives year’s worth of chances. Sutil never really bothered Fisi all that much, he beat Liuzzi but it is Liuzzi and this year Paul has definitely outshone Sutil even if his latter half did pick up. There’s a reason Sutil hasn’t progressed in all this time and apparently he’s not that great on the technical side of him and if FI really want to progress they should gamble on talent that may actually take them places. I’m a Ferrari fan and I’d love either the Hulk or Paul in the red car one day so I think a team like FI would be mad to turn clear talent away.

  34. Force India can’t lose with this selection, but I think di Resta/Hulkenburg would be marginally better than Sutil/di Resta or Sutil/Hulkenburg for 2012. di Resta’s ready to pick up the team leadership reins, Hulkenburg’s ready for his second attempt at F1 racing and going to Williams (or Renault) could be the making of Sutil. Adrian’s experience would benefit Force India in the short term but in the long run would stymie development, leading to an unbalanced and vulnerable team.

    If neither Williams nor Renault hires the driver who loses out in the Force India battle (whichever one of the three it is), I will be seriously wondering what is wrong with the thought processes of team principals these days.

  35. Bring Mika Hakkinen back!!!

  36. Sutil and Di Resta. If Sutil finds a better seat (which I think he deserves) then Di Resta and Hulkenberg, but I think that would be a terrible line-up. Hulkenberg didn’t impress me at all in 2010

  37. sid_prasher (@)
    2nd December 2011, 18:43

    I have no basis to feel that Nico will do better than Sutil! Sutil did in fact clearly out score Paul.

    If forced to drop some one – i will drop Paul…but I will prefer the trio to remain together…

  38. Karthikeyan and Chandhok

    1. sid_prasher (@)
      2nd December 2011, 19:30

      :) how to destroy a team in 2 steps!

  39. There has never been a champion in the history of f1 who wasn’t able to do quick laps, it’s the first requirement a driver needs to meet and thats why it’s talked about.

    Actually there was such a champion. In 1984 Alain Prost thrashed Niki Lauda in quali. Lauda’s average starting position was about 8th place but he still managed to win that championship. But of course nowadays winning a championship Vettel-style is much more likely.

  40. I voted for Di Resta and Hulkenberg as long as Sutil gets a seat somewhere else. I never used to think highly of Sutil, everytime he looked good in one race, he’d look rubbish in the next race. But in second half of this season, he has started to catch my attention, and now I’m fully convinced he deserves a seat in Formula One. I only voted against Sutil because both Di Resta and Hulkenberg deserve and need the chance to develop and gain more experience.

  41. di Resta and Hulkenburg.

    Maybe Sutil and one of these would be a better combination in terms of points. But I firmly believe in the future. Sutil’s been at FI for as long as Hamilton has been at McLaren and done little other than spells of decency. Sutil’s time in F1 may not be an end, but his time at Force India should be.

  42. Sutil has been very strong over the past few races, and Hulkenburg has outpaced Di Resta during a lot of practice sessions.
    So I think that would be a strong line-up.
    Plus a lot of people here have voted to keep Di Resta because he is British.

  43. I have it on very good authority that Di Resta has the seat but it hasn’t been announced yet. Put it this way, he’s not looking for another seat, Anthony Hamilton isn;t speaking to any other teams either.

  44. I just prefer Di Resta and Hulk.

  45. definitelyy SUTIL and DI RESTA..the team is performing well.. i find it really stupid to chuck sutil out when he’s performed so well this year..they’ve given me confidence that FI can perform well and be a good mid field team at least..
    Nico..well he deserves a seat but i think Sutil deserves a place at FI in 2012 more than him coz he’s performed really well in the 2nd half!

  46. Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg.

    On another note, I had a brainwave in bed this morning. Renault should snap up Barrichello. Kimi is reknowned to be of little use in regards to technical feedback. Barrichello is renowned to be excellent.

  47. Difficult… Hulk and Paul, but I would hope that Sutil get a cockpit for next season.

  48. Marco_ferrari
    3rd December 2011, 13:35

    Just one sentence – Sutil is and will stay terribly underrated, because it seems that whatever he does, he just can t receive a level of respect what he deserves… :(

    1. And yet every other f1 fan I meet says that.

      Seems more like he’s quietly overrated to me, not that I think he’s that bad mind

      1. marco_ferrari
        4th December 2011, 9:12

        By who? There are results and points speaking for himself…

  49. I’ve gone with Di Resta and Hulkenberg. For me, Sutil is good, but not that good. If Pirelli bring along completely different compounds next year, what’s to say it won’t take him 10 races to get up to scratch with them? Admittedly, the gap won’t be as huge as it was between Bridgestone to Pirelli but it is a bit of a concern.

    Sutil deserves a seat in F1 but I think Force India should look further afield. They finished as well as they could do this season but now it’s time to take the plunge. It’s one hell of a risk and there is only one way to go.

    1. marco_ferrari
      4th December 2011, 9:11

      And even with his tyre handicap in first races, he easily beat Di Resta in the standings…

    2. whats to say that he wont instantly like the tyres? you cant make assumptions like that without any evidene

      another thing is that sutil is better than hulkenberg, apart from brazil and malaysia which other races can you remember that hulkenberrg shone at.

      malaysia was becuse both ferraris and mclaren didnt go out early enough to set good times and lost out so he should have been 9th.

      in Brazil he had a wet set up. the team denied it but the fact is, is that he finished 8th in a car that was 1 second faster in qualifying….
      nowhere else in the season did the williams show such good promise in the wet in 2010 and to beat barichello by 2.5 seconds at one race when throughout the season he was consistantly about 2 tenths slower than barichello

      1. @tribo32

        he finished 8th in a car that was 1 second faster in qualifying

        Because on a drying track he did better than anyone else at getting heat into his tyres.

        in Brazil he had a wet set up

        And your proof for that is?

  50. themagicofspeed (@)
    4th December 2011, 23:12

    Di Riesta, and i think Hulkenberg deserves a second chance.
    As previously mentioned, there is one condition..i dont care what happens to Sutil, but i do want to see Rubens in a race seat next year so if it means having Rubens and Di Riesta then so be it. It would be good to see Rubhino retire at the end of his 20th season, doing what he loves.

    1. no team would choose barichello over sutil

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