Calado joins Force India as third driver

2013 F1 season

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James Calado, Force India, Young Drivers' Test day one, Silverstone, 2013Force India have appointed James Calado as their new third driver.

Calado, who drove the VJM06 at the Young Drivers’ Test at Silverstone, will drive for the team in Friday practice at the Italian Grand Prix. He will make further appearances for the team in practice sessions later this year.

Force India co-owner and team principal Vijay Mallya said Calado “impressed everyone with his speed and consistency” at the test.

“We?ve always tried to support young drivers and this is a great opportunity for James to gain some valuable experience of driving during Formula One race events.”

Calado is currently fifth in the GP2 series. His career has been backed by the Racing Steps Foundation.

“It?s a massive moment in my career and something I’ve been working towards since I started racing in single seaters with the Racing Steps Foundation,” said Calado.

“Working with everyone at Force India during the Silverstone test was an amazing experience and I feel very fortunate to be part of the team going forward.

“Track time in a Formula One car is so limited these days, so it means a lot that the team will let me drive some free practice sessions. That will be very valuable for me and I will do all I can to help the team in the upcoming races.”

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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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26 comments on “Calado joins Force India as third driver”

  1. Good choice, Force India.

    1. BTW, @keithcollantine, you’ve got ‘Calada’ in Paragraph 2.

  2. This only makes my theory stronger that di Resta will be dropped by the team at the end of this season. Paul has been a solid driver but he hasn’t been able to make the step to a stronger team and Mercedes, who put him at Force India, is now no longer requesting the team for him to be there, hence Force India is now looking for fresher meat.

    Mind you this is just a theory of mine, for all we know it’s Sutils job on the line here…

    1. Or maybe both being pushed to step up their pace and rise to the occasion. The good thing with FI is, that its a real chance that they could give Calado a race seat next year

    2. I see di Resta as the more likely one to be dropped also. Whilst di Resta has been solid, his attitude hasn’t been great, and that can’t have gone unnoticed. Sutil has been a long servant of Force India/Spyker (despite a year out for that incident) and brings some sponsorship which I’m not sure di Resta does.
      The pressure will be on though nonetheless.

      1. I think both Di Resta and Sutil will have equal amounts of pressure. Like @deej92, when things have gone against him, his demeanour has been negative, that being evident via team radio. They’ve both had performances (Di Resta in Bahrain and Sutil in Australia) where the car has over-excelled. The concern I have with Sutil is in the era we’re in, it’s almost impossible for a driver to be at a midfield team for several years, you either get dropped or move to one of the front-runners.

        As for Calado, I’m really happy for him, been watching GP2 this season with Calado being my favourite driver in the category and he’s unquestionably got talent, even though he had a patchy start to the season.

        1. I think just because of Di Resta’s attitude, he will be the one being dropped. Why should FI pay millions (millions?) of dollars on a guy that complains about the team that much?

          1. @austus – Because he’s quick. Or at least quick enough that the team are willing to put up with it.

            Of course, that assumes that di Resta is as quick as he thinks he is. Which he isn’t.

    3. @force-maikel – When di Resta joined the team, he brought with him a Mercedes engine subsidy that fixed his position within Force India. However, when Sutil joined the team this year, there was talk that he also had a Mercedes engine subsidy to his name. If true, that means di Resta’s position within the team is less secure than it was before. When di Resta joined the team, there was speculation that Mercedes were ultimately looking to promite him to the factory team. Now that they have taken Hamilton, they don’t need di Resta, but the upcoming loss of McLaren to Honda means Force India will be their B-team. I wonder if they gave Sutil the subsidy to keep Force India on their side, but at the same time put pressure on di Resta.

  3. i reckon he’ll be another bianchi. used as a test driver but nothing more.

    1. You can’t be talking about the same Bianchi who’s currently racing for Marussia…

    2. Well, Bianchi at least got seriously considered by the team (before they decided on Mercedes engines and signed Sutil), and it helped him get in at Marussia too. Its not like Lotus having a whole football team of reserve-test-PR drivers on the books.

      If James can get a good run of FP1 sessions, I would think he could be seriously considered for a drive next year.

  4. I remember watching Calado at the YDT and thinking to myself that he was really on the limit and pushing the car hard through maggots and becketts. I think he’d do well at Force India, and I’d love to see him in a race seat next year.

  5. Does anybody know who will skip that FP,Di Resta or Sutil?Hope it’s Di Resta personally …

  6. Am I right in thinking you can’t run in Friday practice sessions if you’re competing in GP2 in the meeting meeting? Presumably this means he’ll be giving up on his (admittedly slim) GP2 title hopes?

    Great to see him getting a proper F1 role though. You only need to look at how Daniel Abt (who was pretty impressive in GP3) is doing in the sister ART to see that the team’s struggles are holding James back this season. His 2012 GP2 campaign showed he’s one of the strongest of the current GP2 crop.

    1. *same meeting

    2. I was wondering that. It’s the stupidest rule ever, and I’d like to see him try running in both and see what they do. The worst that can happen is they’ll take away his GP2 result, but he’ll still have shown what he can do.

      Good on JC though – he’s a quality driver and I’ve been impressed with Force India’s driver selections over the last 3 or 4 years, say what you like about Vijay Mallya. How he gets a race seat there is another matter!

    3. +1
      No one seems to be talking about this, which made me think I was going mad, but I’m sure that’s always been the rule. I don’t understand why it doesn’t seem to apply in this case… or, if it does, why no one cares. I am pretty sure that rule still stood this year (didn’t Alexander Rossi say the reason why he hasn’t been doing Fridays for Caterham F1 this season is because he’s racing in GP2 and can’t do both?)

      I do think it’s an annoying rule but I kind of see the point, in that you could argue that a GP2 driver who gets an additional session on track (albeit in a totally different car) has an unfair advantage over the others. But as @tomsk suggested, they could always omit Calado’s Monza result from the GP2 standings.

      Aside from that, I am beyond happy to see Calado at Force India. I badly wanted him to win the GP2 title this year but given ART’s struggles that looks almost impossible, so I’m just so glad that he’s got some good news. He’s such a talented driver and I cannot wait to see him in an F1 race seat.

      1. So apparently there is no rule that stops drivers competing in both GP2 and F1 meetings in the same weekend. What has historically stopped this is the overlap between F1 engineering debriefing and the GP2 practice sessions. How Calado will circumvent that problem I am not sure.

  7. Looks like Di Resta better watch out. Next year, the great Di Resta could get beaten by his 3rd consecutive teammate.

  8. Good news in these pay driver times. Calado’s very solid, but he hasn’t won any really big single seater categories, though he’s been consistently at the front in all of them, Bottas beat him in 2011 and Gutierrez scored more points and wins than him last year, though overall James was more impressive. I don’t think either Force India driver is under threat here specifically (though people do like to unjustifiably hate Paul Di Resta) Di Resta has a contract for next year, but it’s one he’s presumably free to get out of judging by Bob Fearnly’s statements, should Lotus or Ferrari require Paul’s services. Sutil isn’t going anywhere, unless he’s replaced and his F1 career truly over, which could happen, he’s been quick, but has made more mistakes and generally been slower than his much less experienced and younger team mate.

    1. @jmc200 You can blame the UK media for that one I’d say they are as bad about blowing him up as they were with Jenson.

  9. Thank you Force India. There are currently five stars of the junior categories, namely Robin Frijns, Kevin Magnussen, Sam Bird, Stoffel Vandoorne and Calado, and none of them, now with possible exception of James, look like they are even within a remote chance of getting a drive next year. Finally, talent is rewarded. If he does get into F1, I expect his pace, his maturity and his technical proficiency to serve him well. Finally, some good news in the world of F1.

    1. Couldn’t agree more about those five, and I’d possibly add Felipe Nasr. All more deserving of an F1 drive than Gutierrez or Chilton for me (Giedo van der Garde seems to be finding his feet in F1).

      1. Do you see the problem here? Even if those particular drivers lost their seats, you’d still be trying to fix six drivers into three cars.

    2. Calado has been very impressive in the F1 car so far, given his relative lack of experience in it as well. Nasr is in a similar situation – unlucky not to get extensive testing until now (BMW pulled out). James has been beaten to a lot of junior championship titles, but he has always been in the top 3 in all of them. I would suggest Sutil is on the bubble, given his errors in traffic this year (although he has largely matched Di Resta without this loss of points), understandable since he had a year out. But Sutil has personal backing, Di Resta was relying on Mercedes I understand (but so was Sutil too it seems!). Surely if Mercedes wanted, they could get Wickens, Vietoris, Juncadella etc. into F1 too. They have a lot of drivers, I don’t know what their strategy is (representation in all their areas? F1, DTM etc. and they are switchable if needed?).

      VDG is ‘more qualified’ than Pic and Chilton, with World Karting and Formula Renault 3.5 titles to his name, Pic some 3rd places and Chilton a 5th place finish, but at the moment Pic is usually faster than VDG. Maybe in a second year VDG would be stronger, and he is stronger in mixed conditions. I would take those 3 out, Webber, Massa, Sutil, and add in all the flying young guns once they are ready.

      Ready: Wickens, Calado, Felix da Costa, Frijns, Nasr, Rossi. Bird if there is space, else he’s going to be another Davidson – perennial test driver, who could mix it on real pace if given the chance. Always unlucky.
      Almost: Magnussen, Vandoorne, Evans, Sirotkin (These guys all need some/more GP2/Pirelli experience).

      I think the stand out stars will be Nasr, Evans and Marciello – I predict one of these three could win the championship, Marciello in a Ferrari is the best bet so far. Sirotkin is young enough to be in this bracket, if he doesn’t have another Alguersuari like career.

      I could see a titanic battle between Nasr, Ericsson, Frijns, Rossi and Evans for the GP2 title next year, but I doubt that will happen for whatever reason.

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