Adrian Sutil’s F1 career in pictures

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Formula One’s shrinking grid has squeezed more than one experienced driver off it during the winter.

Adrian Sutil, who made his Formula One debut in 2007 alongside fellow newcomers Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen, has been left without a seat for 2015.

Unfortunately for Sutil it leaves him with the unwanted record of having started more races than any driver without scoring a podium finish. However there were several memorable moments in Sutil’s 128 starts – almost all of which he made with the same team.


Sutil graduated to F1 as the reigning Japanese Formula Three champion. He endured a difficult first year with Spyker, the team originally known as Jordan which had been taken over by Russian company Midland before being sold to the Dutch car manufacturer.

Sutil mainly toiled away in an under-developed chassis, but at the rain-hit Japanese Grand Prix he achieved the distinction of scoring the team’s only point, for eighth place.


The team had another new owner the following year: Vijay Mallya took over and rebranded Spyker as Force India. Sutil was joined by a new team mate, Giancarlo Fisichella.

It was an unsuccessful, point-less year for the team. But it could have been very different. Having started 20th on the grid in Monaco, Sutil was running an impressive fourth with less than ten laps to go. But he was rammed by Kimi Raikkonen’s out-of-control Ferrari at the chicane and forced into retirement.

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The following year Force India replaced their Ferrari engines with Mercedes and the VJM02 chassis proved a major step forward. Fisichella took pole position and almost won at Spa-Francorchamps.

Sutil enjoyed his best weekend at Monza: he put the car on the front row and finished in fourth place. He qualified in the top three in Brazil as well, but his race ended on the first lap when he tangled with a furious Jarno Trulli.


Sutil outscored new team mate Vitantonio Liuzzi by more than two to one in 2010. His season which didn’t peak as high as the year before but was notable for some more consistently impressive performances.


Another year, another new team mate – but rookie Paul di Resta pushed Sutil harder, particularly in the second half of the year.

Nonetheless Sutil was replaced by Nico Hulkenberg at the team for 2012. It was a difficult time for Sutil, who was given a suspended jail sentence following an incident with Lotus co-owner Eric Lux in a Shanghai bar.


When Hulkenberg switched to Sauber for 2013, Sutil was recalled to Force India where he was paired with Di Resta again. He enjoyed something of a dream comeback, briefly leading a race for the first time in Australia.

But the best drive of his season – perhaps his entire career – came in Monaco where he performed audacious passes on both Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button to take an excellent fifth.

It was a case of deja vu at the end of the year, however, as Hulkenberg returned from Sauber and Sutil found himself out of Force India again. He ended up taking the very seat Hulkenberg had just vacated.


Sutil’s last season proved a trying affair. The Sauber C33 was overweight at the beginning of the season – so much so that Sutil drove without a water bottle at times – and though the team made progress it rarely looked like a points contender.

The United States Grand Prix promised to be an exception. Sutil achieved the team’s best qualifying performance of the year with ninth. But he was taken out on the first lap by Sergio Perez.

When Sauber decided to bring an all-new driver pairing in for the following year, and no places available elsewhere, it spelled an end for Sutil’s time in F1.

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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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28 comments on “Adrian Sutil’s F1 career in pictures”

  1. Thought Nico Hülkenberg was close to Sutil but he only has had 76 starts. Hope he doesn’t have to go the same path as Adrian has to…

    1. I fear that indeed it will be a bit of a similar story with Hulk

      1. F1 lost one another talented driver. He should have been better. Just pure unlucky

      2. @bascb
        I have the same feeling, but I hope it is wrong….

  2. Honestly, I can’t say that Sutil is a great loss to F1.

    1. Simon (@weeniebeenie)
      10th March 2015, 12:30

      If there was such a thing as an F1 dictionary his picture, along with a few others, would be next to the ‘mediocre’ entry. Not terrible, not amazing, just, mediocre.

  3. I don’t think people give him the credit that he deserves. There was a time when he in the Force India was a really hot prospect. I think it’s sad that things didn’t work out as maybe they could have.

  4. Good midfield driver, but without Force India he would havê left much sooner.

  5. Zero podiums in 124 starts, and assaulted someone!

    Amazing that he stayed in F1 as long as he did and a poorer man would have gone to jail.

  6. Sutil’s F1 career in pictures… and you do have a single picture of his girl friend?

    Personally I wont miss Sutil, but I will miss the obligatory ‘cut to Sutil girl friend watching from the pits’ scene.

  7. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    10th March 2015, 14:33

    I hadn’t realized he hosts that unwanted record. It says a lot about him (and sometimes his Force India was more than enough to reach that podium, especially considering sometimes accidents or DNFs for the top drivers make a Force India a good candidate.
    And regarding Hulk, I think he is starting to be another Sutil, not even another Heidfeld (at least Nick had podiums). I still support Hulk but let’s hope the podium opens this year for him.

  8. Comparisons to Hulkenberg are unfair, Nico way better than Sutil. But I still commend Adrian for lasting as long as he did, as for some genuinely great drives. His move on Schumi at Silverstone 2010 is still one of my favourites, overtaking Kobayashi at 130R in 2011, Monaco 2013 was immense, as was his battle with Massa at Canada 2013. All a bit wild, but so brave.

    1. *Nico’s

      1. Didn’t he said that Force India’s ’13 car was a carrot, or something like that? lol

        His best season was 2010, easy. On Malaysia Hamilton started from the back and made overtakes on everybody who was ahead of him…till he find Sutil. Stayed there trying for laps and laps.

        Didn’t got past.

    2. congrats for the COTD.
      4 me, I remember only the fight with Trulli in 2009 (right?)

  9. I think Sutil gets a lot of unfair criticism at times, Last year especially.

    Its easy to forget that he was fairly closely matched to team mate Hamilton in Euro F3 & that over the 1st few years of his F1 career he had some highly impressive drives in cars that were not especially great.

    Had Sutil got an opportunity in a good car i’ve no doubt he’d have won races, Probably not a championship but he was good enough to score podiums & win races i’ve no doubt at all about that.

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      10th March 2015, 15:05

      But Sutil didn’t impress any top team. Kovalainen got a big chance in 2008 and messed it up. Piquet got a decent Renault in 2008 too, and ended up as Symonds’ sheep. Perez got his big chance in 2013, and in my opinion was unfairly dropped for Magnussen, who was not so different.
      Adrian is and will remain on the list of drivers who didn’t excel, just drove past.

      1. Perez got his big chance in 2013, and in my opinion was unfairly dropped for Magnussen, who was not so different.


    2. I think every driver on the grid would win a race in a good car…

      1. Paul Findsen (@)
        10th March 2015, 16:06

        I agree. I may dump on some drivers, but I admit that they are doing something that I can’t. It’s all part of the sport, no?

    3. Its easy to forget that he was fairly closely matched to team mate Hamilton in Euro F3

      When they were team mates in 2005 Hamilton won 15 races out of 20 (and lost another win on a technicality), while Sutil won two. that’s not my definition of “closely matched”!

      1. Exactly what I was thinking… I was wondering if there was an extra season of Euro F3 that I wasn’t aware of!

        1. Not to mention that Sutil’s two wins only came when Hamilton was out of contention – Sutil’s two wins were Spa (where Hamilton won on track but was disqualified for a technicality) and Nurburgring (where Hamilton collided with Paul di Resta on the first lap and finished 12th).

  10. Paul Findsen (@)
    10th March 2015, 16:05

    I’ve thought significantly less of him since his Captain Stabby fit.

    And honestly his driving since that incident seems to have declined in my (admittedly biased) view. I often found myself wondering why he still had a drive at all last year. Still, credit where it’s due – Stabbing someone with a Champagne flute is pretty innovative.

  11. If I needed a driver for the Monaco Grand Prix he’d be on my list. As a bonus, he’d bring money.
    But I don’t…

  12. Only will be missing his girlfriend.

  13. Never my favourite driver, but the Monaco 2013 hairpin overtakes were inspired. Good luck to him in whatever he drives next.

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