Sutil and the Uruguayan connection 09 May 2007
Spykers Adrian Sutil will feel very at home at Barcelona this weekend, and he certainly wont have any problems ordering tapas. Sutil may have a German passport, but he grew up speaking Spanish, thanks to his Latin American heritage. His mother is German-born, but his musician father Jorge originally hails from Uruguay.
As such, Sutil has become the first driver with Uruguayan roots to race in Formula One in the modern era. In fact, the country has only enjoyed a minimal involvement in Grand Prix racing over the decades. Only three relatively obscure drivers (Eitel Cantoni, Oscar Gonzalez and Alberto Uria) were seen briefly in the fifties, when it was relatively easy for them to find rides in the Argentine Grand Prix in nearby Buenos Aires.
Since then the nearest the country came was with Gonzalo Rodriguez, who was a star in F3000 before tragically losing his life in a Champ Car accident at Laguna Seca. Rodriguez was a contemporary and friend of Juan Pablo Montoya, who gave Colombian Formula One fans someone to cheer. Now Sutil has done the same for Uruguay, even if it is only by proxy, and he has already seen signs of the increased interest in his fathers home country.
Now Im getting many e-mails from Uruguay, he says. Theyre very, very happy, and they really support me. I think well see a few fans from there at some of the race tracks this year! There has been a lot of media and press interest.
I still have family there. Ive only been there once, when I was 12 or something, so I cant remember too much. But I want to go there after the Brazilian GP in October for one week, just to see my family.
He certainly feels as at home speaking Spanish with the media: My parents separated when I was 13, and I lived with my father then. And he always spoke Spanish to me, and he still speaks to me in Spanish, even if I answer in German. So my childhood was more in the South American style.
In fact Sutils background is even more cosmopolitan than it first appears - his ancestry includes input from all over Latin America and Europe.
Adrians grandfather was Brazil and his grandmother from Argentina, explains Sutils father. His great grandfather was Italian, and great grandmother was from Bruges in Belgium. So were an international family! We speak German, Spanish, Italian Its a good combination.