Exclusive Adrian Sutil Q&A - 2009 could be my season to shine 19 Dec 2008
With the McLaren-Mercedes components for Force Indias new VJM02 car not due until March, the Silverstone-based team will be notable by their absence from the majority of Formula One testing this winter.
Recently confirmed race driver Adrian Sutil admits its difficult seeing everyone else heading off for the track, but with the promise of a stronger car in 2009 the German insists he is far from frustrated
Q: Adrian, if you look back at the 2008 season what conclusions do you draw from those 18 races? You must have expected more
Adrian Sutil: Yeah, for sure I expected more, but at the end of the day it was a season to forget. Our car was too slow and I wasnt really lucky.
Q: That incredible Monaco race with P4 within your reach - and then nothing. Do you still bemoan what might have been?
AS: For all of us, the team and for me, it was a disaster and it took some time to forget it. For me Im okay with it now. I was in P4 seven laps before the end of the race and it showed me that Im able to drive with the top drivers if the car gives me the chance.
Q: How difficult is it for an ambitious young driver, who is aware of his abilities, to always end up on the last row of the grid?
AS: Its not easy to stay motivated and focused all the time if you know that your car is not good enough for better positions. But at the end of the day Im happy to be in F1 and I will get my chance in the future.
Q: You are a good friend of Lewis Hamilton. How does it feel to see that while circumstance has taken him all the way to the top you are struggling with a hard-to-handle car?
AS: It is as it is. I cant change it and Im happy for Lewis. I do have time to wait for my chance. Until then I will work hard and try to use my chances.
Q: There has been a major reshuffle recently at the Force India team. Is this the start of a new era?
AS: Yes, I believe it will be a start. The partnership with McLaren-Mercedes will help us have a much better car in 2009 and to have better results.
Q: With McLaren-Mercedes technology from 2009 on, do you believe it will be a breakthrough for Force India?
AS: Every one in our team is very positive about the partnership. We all believe that 2009 will bring us up to the midfield and that we will score points in 2009.
Q: At the last Barcelona test Pedro de la Rosa did some running in the VJM01. Were you surprised by his comparatively poor lap times?
AS: I have spoken to him and Pedro was really surprised how difficult it was to drive the car. I do not know a better car, as I have never driven a better one - Pedro has always driven a perfect car, so I was sure that it would be difficult for him. But it was very helpful to listen to his comments about the car. He knew very quickly about where the problems are and it will help us.
Q: Have you visited the McLaren facility in Woking to have a look at where the crucial parts for the VJM02 are to be produced?
AS: Not yet, but I do hope that I have the chance in the near future.
Q: There will be no more test sessions for you until the 2009 car, complete with McLaren components, is ready. This will probably not be until March. How does it feel that everybody else is going testing and you have to stay home?
AS: Thats for sure a problem. But I cant change it. And if Im honest, its better to start in March with a good car than to test in February with a bad one.
Q: What will you do during those long winter months?
AS: I will train and prepare for the 09 season. I know that 2009 will be the season to show what Im able to do. Im very motivated and will work very hard. I will be in our factory as often as possible to be close to the team.