Adrian 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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