|© Force India
Adrian Sutil returned to Formula 1 after Force India made its much awaited driver line-up announcement on Thursday which completed the 2013 grid, in a decision which reunited the German with his old team and teammate Paul di Resta.
The 30-year-old beat the team’s test and reserve driver Jules Bianchi to the sole vacant slot this season, suggesting that the team may continue with Mercedes engines next season as well.
Bianchi had been speculated that a potential seat with Force India was likely to indicate that the Silverstone-based outfit would switch to Ferrari units from 2014 onwards.
“The decision over our driver line-up has not been an easy one and we have given it great consideration over the last few months,” team principal Vijay Mallya said. “It was a close call, but ultimately we felt that Adrian’s experience and historic links to the team gave him the edge.”
The liquor-baron added that the team was hopeful to continue with Bianchi this year “to help him develop into a future Grand Prix driver.”
Sutil made his F1 debut in 2007 with Spyker, which was acquired by Force India the following year. He raced with the team since before being dropped at the end of 2011.
“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,” Mallya said.
Legal problems almost derailed Sutil’s career shortly after he lost his seat and being given an 18-month suspended sentence for assaulting current Lotus team owner Eric Lux in a nightclub.
However, Sutil had insisted that the conviction would not affect his future in the sport as he now continues his fifth season with the team.
“I’m delighted to be back in Formula 1, especially with a team I know so well," Sutil said. "I want to thank Force India for giving me a second chance."