Sutil appointed as Williams reserve driver

2015 F1 season

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Adrian Sutil has joined Williams as its reserve driver, the team has announced.

Sutil is without a race seat this year having been dropped by Sauber at the end of last season. He has started 128 races since making his F1 debut in 2007, most of them with Force India and its predecessor, Spyker.

“To work for Sir Frank Williams and his team means a lot to me,” said Sutil. “I would like to thank everyone at Williams for their belief in my qualities and the opportunity to work with such a successful and competitive outfit.”

The team has previously announced Susie Wolff as test driver and Alex Lynn as development driver. Only one of its cars started the first round of the championship as Valtteri Bottas was injured, but the regulations prevented the team from appointing a replacement.

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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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58 comments on “Sutil appointed as Williams reserve driver”

  1. Damn, just when i thought we’d seen the back of him

  2. Good news for FOM cameraman, their eye candy Jen Becks will be back…

    1. How true! She and Felipe Massa’s brother get more camera time than the drivers themselves.

      1. Remember, you heard the rumour here first.
        For the rest of us, it’s not good – just news.

    2. How will they evenly split the TV time between Jorda and Becks though? These are the real F1 problems.

    3. Was just about to pinpoint that, lol.

      This is most probably the bast aspect of this news for me.

    4. petebaldwin (@)
      26th March 2015, 11:08

      No need anymore, they’re replaced her with Carmen Jorda. I don’t think a session has passed yet this year without the camera zooming in on her various times.

  3. Exactly, why give a leg-up to a young unbacked talent like Rowland, Ellinas, Evans or the perennial tragedy that is Frijns when you can have an experienced slice of stale as your reserve driver. Personally I think it would be best if our Jenny Becks supplement was supplied by a trip to Google Images and therefore let a young hopeful get the drive.

    1. There are three free practice sessions per weekend, three pre-season tests and two young driver tests during which teams can give a leg-up to young unbacked talent without any pressure on them to deliver a competitive result.

      You can debate if you like whether Wolff is the young unbacked talent that deserved the opportunity Williams has given to make use of these sessions, but when it comes to the actual competition can you really blame any team for choosing anything other than the driver who will deliver the most championship points they can afford? The young drivers may have more than enough talent to surpass Sutil’s career in the long haul, but faced with the potential one-off challenge of qualifying for, starting and finishing a grand prix in a car they’ve never sat in before you would surely have to back Sutil to bring home the bacon.

      1. +1

        I am all for teams supporting young talent with test driver roles, but in the event that they need a reserve to jump into the car for a weekend when one of their race drivers is injured, it makes far more sense to have a driver who knows the cars/tracks and has F1 racing experience.

    2. Exactly, why give a leg-up to a young unbacked talent like Rowland, Ellinas, Evans or the perennial tragedy that is Frijns when you can have an experienced slice of stale as your reserve driver.

      They are already backing Lynn as young talent. Reserve driver isn’t necessarily one of the future drivers for your team, just someone that is ready to jump in the car when needed. In that way it makes more sense to have someone experienced instead of a young talented driver you want to ready for eventually driving for you.

    3. @countrygent Rowland will get his opportunity but he should concentrate on winning FR 3.5 this year. Ellinas isn’t any better than Sutil. Evans-same as Rowland only replace FR 3.5 with GP2. Frijns deserves all that comes his way for his arrogance and Schumacher-esque tactics(not the good kind). It seems like he’s of an opinion that the sun shines from his hind parts. It’s my personal opinion but I have zero sympathy for him

      Sutil is a very good choice for a test driver. Very dependable if not a world beater

      1. @montreal95 I disagree with your commeng on Ellinas. I think hes at the same potential level as both Rowland and Evans but I do agree with your comment about Frijns. He declined multiple contract offers from Red Bull and look at him now. Its common sense that if you want to drive in Formula 1, you dont turn down contract offers like Frijns did, cause if he had accepted Red Bull’s offer, he MIGHT’VE been Ricciardo’s teammate this year

        1. @mattypf1 Evans and Rowland had impressed me more than Ellinas so far. Especially Evans. That’s not to say I don’t rate Ellinas. But what I meant was that in comparison to Sutil he hadn’t had a better junior career so far. Sutil was quite good himself . Hamilton ate him for breakfast when they were teammates in F3 but Hamilton is Hamilton

  4. So Jennifer Becks is making a comeback.
    Is there a new competition going on, “whoever gets the most reserve/test drivers” will receive
    This is a move I really did not expect from Williams. Yes, Lynn and Wolff have different job titles, but still – must feel pretty bad knowing you will stay away from the car if there is a need for a reserve.
    Martini again must be “pretty happy” that Mr. “Will-stab-you-with-a-glass-or-a-bottle” is becoming the reserve driver.

    1. That could be an interesting advert..

      1. @fastiesty

        Delicious Martini, and when you’re finished you’ve got a murder weapon right there. We think about the environment, we recycle!

    2. Lynn needs to concentrate on GP2. He cannot do that and be a reserve driver. Wolff is just hopeless and not a quarter of a driver Sutil is

      And Martini must be happy that Williams now have a very good reserve driver and not the pathetic Wolff. That glass comment is just cheap btw

    3. Look Williams had Wolf but Lotus went and and got a sexier younger test driver so Williams couldn’t let Lotus win over them in female allure so they one up them with Jennifer Becks.
      Will Carmen Jorda be strong enough to win in random camera moments over Wolf and Becks together? We will have to wait and see.

  5. It is sad to see him in this role some ways that although he is a talented racing driver (just as anyone who races in F1 regardless of the “pay driver” title is), that a young driver isn’t given the opportunity to gain valuable mileage/ experience of driving an F1 car in testing or in free practice. other than brining sponsorship arguably what is the point of having a test driver (Susie Wolf) or a development driver (Alex Lyn) if they are overlooked within the team for a more senior role.

  6. Williams…. why?
    It might be too soon for Alex but Susie should be ready to make the step up if required. They’re basically saying that she’s good enough for testing but not racing. Shame, hope this doesn’t end her chances of getting a race seat in the future but does seem to indicate that they only took her as test driver for the attention of “oh look, we’ve got a woman driver”. Not Williams best moment.

    1. I’m pretty sure that being slow and in her 30’s she never had a chance of getting a race seat so i guess in that way this hasn’t ended them. She just isn’t good enough and has 0 experience, they would be pretty dumb to put her in when they know they’re in a position to score good points at each race because not doing so could lose them a second place in the wcc to ferrari

    2. @swordsman_uk Question is, is she good enough for testing? She collided with Nasr, who was just taking the racing line, while she was on an outlap… who collides in testing?

      Look where Nasr is now – 5th in Melbourne – that’s good enough for F1.

      1. @fastiesty, it was almost universally agreed that Nasr drove into Susie, not the other way around – a viewpoint backed up by the photographs that show that Nasr turning across Susie’s path whilst Susie maintains a constant line.

    3. @swordsman_uk What has Wolff achieved in her career to deserve the reserve driver role, apart from being a woman?

    4. Wolff who has never won a race should be in F1?

  7. petebaldwin (@)
    26th March 2015, 11:12

    I think it’s a good decision by Williams. They will be in a close fight all season for 2nd place in the constructors and every point will count. If they need someone to jump in towards the end of the season, there could be a lot of pressure on them to get points and you would want an experienced head in to do that.

    In all reality, the chance of him driving for Williams this year is very small but it gives them more options and I doubt they’ll have to pay much to have him on board.

    1. @petebaldwin I can’t see either Massa or Bottas being replaced at any point during the season under the requirement of getting points, as both are more proven and IMO far more talented than Sutil.
      I do however think it’s a fine decision to have an experienced pair of hands in case either driver is unable to participate.

      1. I can’t see either Massa or Bottas being replaced at any point during the season

        Maybe this decision was triggered by Bottas´ back-problems. Williams may have just realised situations where one of the drivers can´t race can occur, and in case of that happening, a reserve driver that can give points is preferable.
        Also, I highly doubt Massa is faster or more talented than Sutil. Could be around equal.

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        26th March 2015, 12:30

        @pukktpie – Yeah that’s it. They won’t replace Massa or Bottas out of choice but imagine this situation:

        Williams go into Abu Dhabi level on points with Ferrari for 2nd in the constructors and Bottas’ tweaks his back in FP3 and cannot compete in quali.

        Williams would then have an experienced driver who could cope with the pressure rather than someone making their Grand Prix debut.

      3. @petebaldwin @crammond Yep i totally agree that Sutil is a good choice for an experienced driver to step in if either Massa or Bottas are unable to participate through injury, i cannot however see either driver being replaced under the specific need to obtain points.
        I can’t see Sutil being any more capable than the current Williams drivers at scoring big points under pressure, hence he’ll only drive if Massa or Bottas are incapacitated.

  8. That is a brilliant image to accompany this article…

    1. and the comments aswell ;)

    2. An image of Jennifer Becks would have been better.:)

  9. So effectively Susie Wolff’s chances of driving in a F1 race is now over… Feel bad for her.. Is it me, or Williams have suddenly started to be less ‘warm’ towards her…

    1. Where they ever there?

  10. Their current line-up are already pretty strong, plus with Sutil backing, its a win-win situation for Williams.
    Nasr also could be promoted if Massa start to decline, Susie is good for development, but not for the drivers. All I can see is a very bright future for Williams.

    1. They lost Nasr to Sauber, I thought? Or is he on loan?

      1. No he isn’t on loan.

  11. Capri-Sun and Martini? That’s just wrong.

  12. Statistically, that means that anybody BUT Sutil will be called upon should the need arise for williams to use a reserve driver.

  13. Talking about the test/development driver(s) situation. Just listened to this podcast for The Times by Kevin Eason. Pretty much sums everything up.

    1. Bottas(Hulk/Rosberg/Mal) was Williams’s development driver

    2. Talks better than he writes, thanks for sharing that – amazed it’s free as the Times wants money for everything else (ironic given the subject)
      Makes sense for Williams to have somebody on standby who’s fit and experienced enough to deal with a long hot race, if Bottas’ injury flares up again. But I hope Alex Lynn becomes their reserve once he’s had a test drive or two.

  14. Definitely taken by surprise with this news. I’m not sure that I like it much, but I do understand it’s logic.

  15. I know Williams were desperate to ensure they could avoid putting Susie in the car (thank goodness), but to stoop as low as signing up this idiot?!?! Lesser of two evils maybe!

    1. lol. harshly worded, but it does seem like there must have been SOMEONE else available. bring back kobayashi!

  16. Reserve, Test…. and now Development?

  17. Ultimately all this proves is that Susie sitting in the car was no more than a PR stunt.

    And that is actually a shame.

    If you are going to promote someone as an F1 driver, you should have the conviction to give them the chance to drive in F1, no matter how slim that chance may be.

    A doubly poor show considering Claire Williams’ role within the team.

    1. well nobody thought it was ever anything but a PR move did they?

      i dont get why anyones surprised

  18. I’m not his biggest fan but I don’t get why many are so against it. Sure he’s a pay driver but where do you find one of those who also has more than a hundred GP races under his belt.

    1. I Agree. I see him more as a save pair of hands for emergencies than anything else. A bit like Heidfeld really when he replaced Kubica at Lotus.

    2. Completely agree. Williams have a good car, they know it and they’ll want it not only on the track but at least in the points in case of force majeure. I doubt either Wolff or Lynn are able to do that.
      Sutil is there for his experience and because he’s got nothing to prove anymore. He knows he won’t get a full-season drive anymore so he’s making the best out of his current situation. And so are Williams. Win-win.

      Sutil is F1’s new Pedro de la Rosa.

  19. the only good thing about this is…
    BECKS IS BACK!!!!!!

  20. While I can see the decision not to give Susie the seat, although she’s as deserving as anyone and not pathetic as some comments are suggesting. Williams fight for points puts them in a position to attract a better Reserve Driver, come on, it’s not like Sutil is a regular high points scorer. Paul Di Resta would be better suited, and there are others available, Senna, Heidfeld and more.

    So is Lotus playing the PR game as well with Jorda?

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