Force India deny Sutil was dropped over Lux incident

F1 Fanatic round-up

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Adrian Sutil, Force India, Korea, 2011

In the round-up: Force India insist the decision to drop Adrian Sutil was not influenced by his impending court case.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Force India head insists Adrian Sutil snub had nothing to do with GBH incident (Daily Mirror)

Bob Fearnley: “Adrian did have an exceptional season, he is an extremely talented driver, and as importantly an extremely nice person who fitted in well with the team. But we had to look at where we felt our long-term strengths lay. Adrian had been with us for a number of years, and we genuinely believed the future with us was with Paul [di Resta] and Nico [Hulkenberg].”

Jerez running order revealed (Autosport)

Mercedes is running last year’s car but using its three days of running to evaluate tyres, while HRT is only running Pedro de la Rosa in its 2011 challenger on the first two days.”

Launch Analysis: McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 (ScarbsF1)

“When compared to the maximum heights (the dotted line on the drawing), it’s clear this is a very low nose overall. This creates less space under the raised nose, but the teams snow plough device under the nose works aggressively as a turning vane, so perhaps the team don’t need the higher chassis to get the correct airflow to the sidepods leading edge.”

Roberto Mieres (The Guardian)

“One of Mieres’s finest performances came in the British Grand Prix of 1955, held at the Aintree circuit, formed from the perimeter road of the Grand National course. In front of a capacity crowd, he and his Maserati 250F succeeded in splitting the four cars of the all-conquering Mercedes-Benz team, leading the car of Piero Taruffi before retiring with engine failure.”

COTA gets a special visitor today (Circuit of the Americas)

“Today Texas Governor Rick Perry made a visit to the Circuit of The Americas construction site.”

Broadcast Award for BBC F1 team (BBC)

“The prize, for the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, was praised as ‘very slick, accessible and compelling coverage of the season finale’.”

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Comment of the day

It’s fair to say most commenters weren’t impressed with HRT re-hiring Narain Karthikeyan. PT puts the case for the defence:

the idea that Narain isn’t a talented driver is as wrong as saying the sky is green. He was a consistent podium finisher and race winner in British F3 along with the likes of Takuma Sato, Anthony Davidson and Antonio Pizzonia. Narain was spoken of in the same light as these guys and in the 2000 Macau Grand Prix and Korean Super Prix was untouchable – he set pole and fastest lap on both the meetings and won the latter while crashing out at Macau.

He finished his first Formula Nippon race in 6th place. It was only after that, during his World Series by Nissan (now World Series by Renault) years from 2002 to 2004 that his motivation seemed to waver and began to appear like a mediocre driver.

But in first F1 year in Jordan he did impress and had a few great performances though he ultimately proved to be inconsistent was overtaken by team mate Tiago Monteiro.

You must remember that in 2011 he returned to F1 after six years away from it racing machines as wide apart as the LMP1 Audi R10 sports prototype (in which he did impress) and NASCAR trucks. By that time F1 had changed and he was placed in HRT along with Vitantonio Liuzzi who was an active F1 driver. Even Daniel Ricciardo was someone who was progressing through the single seater ranks and had tested extensively with Red Bull. These reasons could account for the fact that the team-mates got the better of him. He also did not have age on his side.

This year though would give an indication of Narain’s true potential because he is placed with someone who is older than him and who hasn’t been as active an F1 driver as Liuzzi was. Narain needs to perform better than him.

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On this day in F1

Stirling Moss was unimpressed with paddock whispers that his Lotus 21 was so well-suited to the Warwick Farm circuit that he had the 100-mile race in the bag before it had even started.

So he decided to race a Cooper instead – and duly won the non-championship race, held on this day 50 years ago.

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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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67 comments on “Force India deny Sutil was dropped over Lux incident”

  1. Karthikeyan might be talented (in his own way) but the problem is: he was dropped (couple of times now) for a reason…

    HRT themselves dropped him midway through the season and Ricciardo proved to be much more competitive right on his first race. That’s the problem, there are many drivers better positioned to be in a F1 car, but money talks, so Narain is still there.

    He first raced in F1 in 2005 and spent 5 years outside the series… it’s hard to think he can progress right now, really.

    All the points @PT makes are just mere excuses. He’s in F1 because of TATA’s money, and that’s the end of the story. Most of us don’t like that..

    1. While the points @PT makes are true, they certainly don’t mean he is better than Ricciardo and Liuzzi. Tonio won the 2004 F3000 championship and Daniel won the 2009 British F3 championship.
      De la Rosa isn’t a great driver either, although he won many series when he was younger. He is older and has last raced in F1 in 2010, so he will clearly struggle more than Narain, who also knows the team already. I think de la Rosa is better than Karthikeyan but if Narain beats Pedro it will mean nothing at all.

      1. @Fixy De la Rosa did get to race in June 2011 at the Canadian Grand Prix.

        1. @weasel I don’t know how I could forget that! Still, it was one only race, his last “season” (or part of) is 2010.

  2. Nobody really knows how good Narain is right now really, it’s almost impossible to show your talent driving a current HRT, even the likes of Fernando Alonso would struggle to stand out at all.

    I wonder if all the drivers randomly swapped teams and we didn’t know who was driving which car, and they had a race, if would we be able to tell who any of them were? Surely it would be nearly impossible because in truth these guys are very evenly matched. Pay driver or not you have to be a very skilled driver for a team to even consider you no matter how much money you bring, no driver that gets a Formula 1 seat is going to be a bad or slow driver.

    I think people make harsh Judgements purely based on his age. For all we know Narain could be the most gifted driver in the world…well maybe not but you get my idea.

    1. Well.. I would have to disagree. We know how good Narain is. Narain was not good enough to beat Tiago Monteiro in 2005 and definitely not good enough to beat Liuzzi.

      Monteiro was dropped 6 years ago, and Liuzzi didn’t really deserve a spot on the grid this year

      1. Narain hadn’t been in a car for many years though so Luizzi beating him didn’t mean he was better. If Schumacher that is a multi champion and was gone for 3 years and had all the practice possible before the year started needed at least a year to get into the mix of it and still says he can improve, i don’t get why Narain can’t get the same courtesy especially considering he was missing longer he drove little before leaving and he had no practice before the start of last year.

      2. Wrong. Karthikeyan was faster than Monteiro in 2005. Points standings can’t be taken into account while comparing tem-mates from a backmarker team that only had one point finish the whole year(not counting the US GP farce).

        1. Jordan had 3 points finishes in 2005. Two were from Indianapolis – Tiago 3rd and Narain 4th in a situation where that was all that could have been expected from either, and one of them had to finish in front of the other. The third was from Spa – and Tiago got that particular point, without the assistance of 14 cars “retiring” ahead of him.

          Narain was initially much faster than Tiago, but once Tiago got used to the car (a process taking about a third of the season), the tables were turned. By the end of the season Tiago was typically faster than Narain by about the same amount as Narain had beaten Tiago at the start. Plus Tiago was a lot more reliable.

          I think Narain has improved a bit since 2005. But that initial season didn’t suggest he was particularly fast. Better to use 2011 as evidence of Narain’s talents (and yes, there were promising races amongst the awkward ones).

          1. I assure you, as I’ve followed closely the 2005 Jordan season that Monteiro wasn’t beating Narain by the same amounts by the end of the season. Indeed in the last race in China Narain outqualified Monteiro by 2.5 seconds!
            The biggest margin in Monteiro’s favour all season was 1.2 seconds at Monza, with further 1.1 seconds margins at Brazil and the Nurburgring and nowhere else over 0.5 sec. Narain had beat Monteiro by bigger than 1.2 seconds margins four times and beat him in qualy overall score.

            As I said perception is everything. Even in that video James Allen said those things and raved about Monteiro, even as he was being destroyed by Narain and as I was watching then, I thought “what a blind idiot!”

            I don’t argue that it was close between them. I maintain however that Karthikeyan showed himself to be potentially faster than the slow and steady Monteiro, who admittedly had a great race at Spa, but the point there was a result of circumstances and you can’t judge team-mates in a slow car based on the one point finish.

            and I agree about 2011.

  3. Dire predictions from James Allen:

    There are so many legality question marks around 2012 F1 cars apparently, that FIA’s Charlie Whiting is going to attend Jerez test…

    So I wonder what we’re not seeing? I’m willing to bet it has something to do with directional exhaust nozzles – it’s already been noticed that Ferrari and McLaren can direct their exhaust outlets so that the gasses blow under their rear wings.

    1. @prisoner-monkeys a lot of legality questions have been raised about the under-nose vanes and aero devices; as there is an area there where you’re not allowed any bodywork.

    2. I don’t think it’s to do with any exhausts we have seen so far. mclarens are fine ferraris looked questionable but after looking carefully at a terrible rear view promotion picture i’m convinced they do actually angle up. Probably by exactly 10 degrees from horizontal.

    3. This is going to be an interesting season.

      I can’ sense FIA cock ups. I dunno why… Maybe it’s because it happens every year.

      1. Myabe they don’t want a repeat of last year, and so are going to try and get everything out of the way before the season starts.

        1. Exactly what I thought of it. Good Idea to have Charlie there at the first tests to clear any grey areas before the season really gets going.

          Especially as 2 of the top teams have already said, that they were looking at going to the limit of what they can get away with.

    4. @prisoner-monkeys I don’t think it’s anything to do with exhausts, as the rules seem to be pretty clear on that. I think it’s 30 degrees that’s allowed.

  4. Stirling Moss, some man!

    1. When reading those stories, you almost wish for non championship events to return. But I guess most of the time it wouldn’t be fun.
      Then again the idea of 4 non championship races after 4 races, where teams can test what they want, provided they have a rookie in at least one car… That still appeals to me.

  5. It’s fair to say most commenters weren’t impressed with HRT re-hiring Narain Karthikeyan.

    I think the reason why so many people dislike the idea of Karthikeyan racing is that he had his chance back in 2005, and didn’t really go anywhere with it. Even if he had a few impressive outings, nobody really saw fit to retain him. Then he came back in 2011 and did more of the same, before being dropped mid-season. Even if his return for the Indian Grand Prix was reasonably impressive, the whole thing felt like a publicity stunt, particularly in the way they moved Daniel Ricciardo into car #23 for the weekend so that Karthikeyan could be “lead driver” for the race. And now he’s back again, joining small club of drivers – including Jarno Trulli, Rubens Barrichello, Pedro de la Rosa, Nick Heidfeld and Michael Schumacher – who have been around for far too long, but are insisting that they are still relevant to Formula 1, and so fast young drivers are missing out. Just look at the roster of drivers without a seat for 2012: Alguersuari, d’Ambrosio, Buemi, Liuzzi, Petrov and Sutil. Can anyone genuinely say that most of they deserve a seat less than Trulli or de la Rosa or Karthikeyan? Vitaly Petrov is possibly the only driver without a seat with the ghost of a chance of getting one for 2012, but I doubt that’s going to happen. So it’s deeply unfair of drivers like Karthikeyan and Trulli (who I feel are the two biggest offenders) to occupy seats the way they do and forcing younger and faster drivers to sit on the sidelines.

    1. I’d underwrite most of your post, but the classification of Liuzzi in the young and deserving category.

      Tonio is 31 years old, has had more chances than Narain, is at it as long (debut in 2005), and while he fared way better in general, he didn’t shine enough to warrant a fith full season. (+2 partial seasons)

      Generally speaking, yes, some of the drivers you listed are better than the TRUs, PDRs and KARs of this world and should probably race in their stead, but it’s not like any of them set the world on fire either. It’s still unfair, but it’s not like we’re losing another Vettel or Hamilton with any of them dropped.

      1. Note for the 2012 year PDR =pedro de la rosa and paul di resta lol.

        1. Oh, right, gotta get on using the official short hand for Pedro again. It was DLR, right?

          1. Correct, Di Resta is DIR anyhow.

          2. yeah it wont be a problem at races but on forums ppl do tend to call both drivers pdr

      2. @proesterchen I agree with most of what you said, but F1 could be losing another Vettel or Hamilton – Rob Wickens – he beat Jean-Eric Vergne to the Formula Renault 3.5 title as team-mates in 2011 (by a small margin, but still) and has had a lot of success in the previous seasons. He really deserves a seat in F1 and now that he hasn’t got one, where is he to go? There’s not much point in doing another year in the series he already won, and GP2 wouldn’t help him much either.

        I really hope he gets a third driver role somewhere and to a regular seat next year, because he’s an amazing talent.

    2. I don’t disagree with many of your points, but to call it unfair–as if there’s some sort of Occupy F1 movement going on that’s preventing young talent from getting what they deserve–for Karthikeyan or Trulli to drive in F1 if they can find a seat, sort of baffles. F1’s an exclusive club, for a variety of reasons. It always will be. The day it isn’t, it won’t be F1.

      By your logic, Webber should be the worst offender. As should, perhaps, Hamilton. Those two had seats in the two best cars, and both absolutely blew it last year. Massa did the same in the third-fastest car.

      Regardless, I wouldn’t care if I was “occupying” the seat of Vettel himself — if I could convince Mateschitz/Marko/Newey/Hornet to give me Vettel’s seat, I would, despite the fact that I know he’d do a better job at it. How could any rational driver turn down a seat at an F1 team that’s there for the taking? F1’s neither a democracy nor a place where anyone has an inherent right to be.

      And the drivers–perhaps with the rumored potential exception of Raikkonen–don’t own any portion of their respective teams. In fact, they aren’t even employees of the team, technically. Even if they buy their seat (or otherwise manage to linger longer than some would like), they aren’t the only drivers with money, and the entire cost/benefit package they bring appeals to the team, for whatever reason. That’s the team’s call, and to say otherwise by appealing to some abstract concept of fairness in what is arguably the most competitive sport in the world, makes me wonder exactly what Formula 1 you’ve been watching.

    3. Old vs Young drivers argument doesn’t always work. None of the drivers in the list who don’t have drives have really beat experienced teammates. Ambrosio was not faster than glock, petrov not faster than kubica, liuzzi not faster than anyone really. No one even knows if alguersuari is faster than buemi or vice-versa.

      Does anyone know for certain that alguersuari would beat trulli in the same car ? I very much doubt that based on trulli’s past exploits..

      Age shouldn’t matter..if X is faster than Y, how does it matter if X is older than Y ??

  6. Here you can find some images of Red Bull’s new weapon:

    1. I don’t get the joke.

        1. I think it’s suposed to be saying that adrian newey crafted vettels finger. Took me 5 mins of looking to get that and im not even sure that’s right cos i don’t find it funny :P

          1. LOL, I got it a bit earlier. But to me its not really funny either @thebrav3

      1. I do not really know either but his finger seems to be the same shape as the front of both the Caterham and Ferrari.

  7. Re: Karthekeyan, if only all potentials from lower classes performed oustanding in F1…
    It all has to come and fit together. Fast. If not, next!

  8. Yes! As a dutchman I’m excited with the confirmation that Guido van der Garde gets the test role at Caterham.
    Now, prove it!

    1. Yes that would be quite interesting. I wonder if this means the Trulli seat is now safe – van der Garde wouldn’t be very happy if he was undercut now by someone else stepping into Trulli’s role

      1. I do think it means that Petrov’s sponsors did not pay up for Trulli’s seat @raymondu999, so Trulli can be safe for now.

  9. Court case aside, I do think it was time that Force India shook things up a little. Sutil performed better in 2011 than he did 2010 but ultimately a sport about development needs to push all the time and I’m not convinced Sutil could really push with them.

    1. Yeah, I think their reasoning for replacing Sutil is pretty solid. I also would like to see how Sutil does in another team, there was not much more he could have shown in the FI.

      Hulkenberg and Di Resta is a bit of a fresh line-up for the next few years, let us see how they develop.

  10. I thought it was pretty obvious why Sutil was dropped- he achieved very little in 5 years and only beat Liuzzi. It was 5 years and no other team was interested in him and they have two greta future talents now in the car. Assault mess aside, I was surprised he was able to hang onto that seat for so long.

    1. He also beat that other bloke people on here seem rather fond of. You know, the one with the funny accent.

      1. Funny accent? I’ve no idea who you mean but there was Fisi who he really should have beat but didn’t and a rookie who he may have beaten overall but the rookie impressed far more and earlier on. He really should have put Paul in his place but barely had a handle on him.

        1. He means Paul “Better than Vettel” di Resta.

        2. Yeah, that wonderful rookie. Sutil got 55,5% more points. Sutil ended up 9th, rather than 13th. Also, Sutil didn’t get beat by Nick Heidfeld, who only raced 11 times before being dropped by Renault.

          I’d argue Sutil put that rookie into his place rather soundly, but I understand that there is a perception gap with certain parts of the Formula 1 fan base on that topic.

          btw: Sutil beat Christijan Albers and Sakon Yamamoto, too. Both also come with funny accents. I see a trend developing … :P

          1. Yamamoto has got the best accent out of all of them.

      2. Yeah, the fact that di Resta didn’t become an instant joke for his comments on Vettel, right on the heels of failing to beat Sutil, says more about his fan base amongst the media, than anything.

        Good on ’em if he can pull it off, but if he doesn’t have a stunner of a season this year, he’ll go the way of Sutil. (Hopefully sans altercation.)

        1. Disagree. Paul’s a rookie who didn’t get into F1 the conventional way yet immediately outqualified Sutil and put in some truly stunning drives such as Canada. It was usually his crashtastic ways which let him down but after some experience that should be ironed out. He had the speed just not the consistency which comes with being a rookie and against a man with half a decade’s worth of experience he was great.

          1. I agree with that @steph, DiResta did impressively and I would guess that having real competition in DTM helped make him more determined to get results.

            Sure, the BBC hyped him a bit too much last year, but it was no where like the Germans have been all over Schumacher and later Vettel.

          2. The irony is that Adrian originally made his mark by doing something similar (though more comprehensive) against Christijan Albers.

            I would say that Adrian is a good driver but not necessarily what Force India needs at this precise moment. Perhaps with a couple of years at another team he might have found his way back to Force India just when both were ready to take the next big step upwards. Sadly it’s difficult to see how that will happen now.

    2. @Stef You sound like a bit of a broken record when it comes to Sutil. I mean sorry but how many times have you already made this exact post?

      My prediction for 2012 is that neither di Resta nor Hulkenberg match Sutil’s 2011 performance. FI were silly to let him go and it’ll be a miracle if they get 5th or 6th in the constructor’s with their current line-up. I predict 7th as I believe the Sauber duo will trump FI this year.

      1. apologies @Steph my mistake on your name

  11. I think yesterday I was too kind with the F2012. I saw it for the first time at school during breaktime, and I was furious about it :P
    By the time I returned home and commented on the article I had calmed down a bit :)
    That said, when I saw it today I liked it more, the nose isn’t so strange seen from an angle and the airbox is quite aggressive.

    1. @Fixy,

      The F2012 nose isn’t half as ugly as that of the Caterham.

      1. I like the Caterham nose better than the Ferrari, but only in such that it doesn’t look like a particularly untalented handyman took a jigsaw to it, only to leave for an extended stay at the local pub shortly afterward.

        At least Caterham found someone to polish down the edges somewhat.

        1. I agree @proesterchen, the platypus nose of the CT01 is less accentuated than in the F2012 I think. @pt

          1. The F2012 nose is just very flat, with sharp edges and a one tone colour.

            That’s why it looks bad.

            I’ve heard some suggestions that Ferrari is banking on the rules being lifted.

  12. My first COTD :) Thanks Keith and everyone for listening.

    1. Congrats @PT! Thanks for the detailed history of Narain’s career and I absolutely agree with you. I don’t think he’s a star but it’s too easy to blow him off. He’s had moments where he’s really done well and he’s not exactly in the easiest environment when he’s in the dog of a HRT but he’s been doing okay (and amazing at India). I’d really like it if he proved people wrong this year plus, he seems like a really pleasant chap in his interviews.

    2. So the case for the defense of Karthikeyan is that he was comparable to:

      Sato (lost his F1 drive)
      Davidson (lost his F1 drive)
      Pizzonia (lost his F1 drive)

      And an admission that he was beaten by:

      Montiero (no F1 drive)

      With all respect due to both you and Keith, I don’t really understand how this qualifies as either a cogent defense, or a COTD.

      1. Take the stick out of your axe and it might become clearer.

        1. Much harder to grind without a handle.

      2. Sato-lost an F1 drive unjustly as he was certainly good enough and drove well in his last season. Sato was held in high regard and most thought he should’ve been in F1 based on talent so it’s a valid comparison.
        Pizzonia-was a star in junior categories. Didnt make it in F1 after Webber destroyed him but FW still spoke highly of him.

        COTD states that Monteiro beat him, which is technically correct as it was 7-5 in points, but you’ve missed completely the implication that Narain was faster, as was proved in qualifying. What’s better slow and consistent or fast but inconsistent? Most in F1, fans and insiders alike agree that it’s the latter.

      3. To my mind, @PT ‘s article was a COTD for the sheer quality of the defense. It might not be enough to make anyone think Narain is a great driver, but it should be clear from it that he’s not hopeless either.

    3. Yeah, congratulations on the COTD @pt! Nice effort to show that Karthikeyan might not be world championship material but he is just as worthy to be on the grid as many others are.

      I do think he has already passed the peak in his performance by now, just like others like Trulli, or indeed his team mate Pedro DL Rosa. But on the other hand, HRT needs drivers who bring their own budget and they could do worse than their current line up, I guess.

      Now we just have to wait and see who gets their 3rd and 4th driver roles and put our odds on when these will replace either Narian or Pedro!

  13. If Kartikeyan’s pre-F1 career is impressive, what should we make of Liuzzi? He aced F3000 in 2004 in the same way Schumacher dominated F1 that year, yet he was mediocre in F1.

    People read too much into junior racing series sometimes. Afterall; Martin Brundle beat Senna in F3, Heinz Herald Frentzen was faster than Schumacher in sports cars and less said about Jan Magnussen the better.

    That said why are people here so upset about Narain getting the seat I dont know. He is not the first pay driver nor will be the last. He is not completely talentless either, possibly a bit slower than Liuzzi but not by a second or so. At the moment HRT needs extra millions of Karthikeyan more than extra tenths of Liuzzi.

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