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Exclusive Q&A with Adrian Sutil: Experience will count in 2014 24 Oct 2013

Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Preparations, Thursday, 24 October 2013 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 walks the track.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Preparations, Thursday, 24 October 2013 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India VJM06.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Race Day, Suzuka, Japan, Sunday, 13 October 2013 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India VJM06 on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Race Day, Suzuka, Japan, Sunday, 13 October 2013 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India VJM06.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice, Suzuka, Japan, Friday, 11 October 2013 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India VJM06.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying, Suzuka, Japan, Saturday, 12 October 2013 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India VJM06.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice, Suzuka, Japan, Friday, 11 October 2013 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India F1 and Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Preparations, Suzuka, Japan, Thursday, 10 October 2013 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Preparations, Thursday, 24 October 2013

Having sat out the 2012 season, Adrian Sutil has made a successful return to Formula One racing with his old team Force India this season. However, the German has yet to firm up what he’ll be doing - and who he’ll be racing for - in 2014. Ahead of his team’s most important race of the year - the 2013 Formula 1 Airtel Indian Grand Prix - we spoke to Sutil about his future plans…

Q: Adrian, you’ve spent the last couple of days in India promoting your team and Formula One racing. What’s your impression: has Formula One racing arrived here?
Adrian Sutil:
India is such a huge country with so much potential. F1 for sure has made a big step and there are many fans in India who both support Force India - as it is ‘their’ team - and who are interested in motorsport in general, and especially in F1. So it’s a bit sad that there won’t be a Grand Prix in 2014 in India, but hopefully it will come back in 2015 to build on the strong fan base that already exists and that I have witnessed over the last couple of days. Paul (Di Resta) and I have been guest sports editors of the newspaper ‘Times of India’ and fans could put questions forward and I was really impressed with how knowledgeable the fans are. On Tuesday we both attended a Kingfisher event and did race simulator games against young fans and oh boy, they knew every trick there is! (laughs)

Q: Many eyes will be on Force India this weekend. Will you and Paul be able to satisfy the fans’ hunger for points here?
AS:
Hopefully it will be possible, but to be honest it will be difficult as the last races have not been as we would have liked them to be. We had a great start into the season with great results, but since Silverstone we’ve had a hard time. Of course we will try everything to score points and to deliver a great show to all our fans in India.

Q: This season is significantly different for Force India than in previous years: normally the second half of the season has been the time to reap points, but this year it was the first half and now the team - as you’ve just mentioned - is struggling a little. Why is that?
AS:
It’s a bit boring to discuss this again and again, but since the tyres have been changed after Silverstone we’ve definitely struggled. Sahara Force India is still a small team with limited capacities so any changes that are made hurt teams like us more than the big teams. With all their resources they react to any changes much faster. But we will push very hard to have good results in the last races and to fight for P6 (in the constructors’ championship).

Q: The impression is that recently the strategies for both cars have not been particularly lucky. Would you agree?
AS:
Yes, it looks like we had some problems. But from outside and after a race it’s always easy to know better. If you want to compete with the ‘big boys’ you have to try different strategies - and that is what we did. Unfortunately they did not work as we hoped they would.

Q: Will Force India be able to defend P6 in the constructors’ championship? Will the next four races see the team again on an upward curve?
AS:
At least that’s our new goal after realizing that P5 is too far away. Things looked different after the first eight races, but now we have to defend P6 and we will fight as hard as possible to stay there - to finish in P6.

Q: When looking at the performance of all the teams right now one gets the impression that only Red Bull and Lotus are still developing their 2013 cars and that all others aren’t. What’s your point of view on that?
AS:
Well, that is hard to say from the outside, but in reality it’s all about money and capacity. If there is enough money to spend and enough staff in the factory it’s easy to develop your car during the whole season - and to focus on the 2104 car with its dramatic changes. For all the smaller teams it is a balancing act that is hard to make happen. At one point you have to concentrate on the future.

Q: There are still a number of drivers without a 2014 contract - including you. What is the state of affairs in your case?
AS:
How do you know that I’m without a contract for 2014? (laughs) I will come up with the details when the time is right. Of course I know the direction, but as I just said, the time is not right.

Q: Can you give a hint? Is it a thumbs-up, meaning you’re going somewhere different; a thumbs-down, saying goodbye to F1 racing; or thumbs straight, meaning that you’re staying with Force India?
AS:
Well, as I always want to improve, hopefully it’s a thumbs-up situation.

Q: Where are you looking? And how tough is it that at this crucial time you may struggle to show your full potential due to the limited capabilities of your car?
AS:
Well, after six years and more than 100 Grands Prix, people in F1 know me and what I’m able to do quite well. I’m convinced that a decision will not be made because of the last couple of races.

Q: What is it that the teams want from a driver? How would you say the job description has changed over the last few years?
AS:
Teams are looking for money - that seems to be a logical answer to their situation. But to be honest, most of the teams are still looking for experienced and fast drivers, especially for 2014 with all the changes. It will help a team if the driver knows what he is doing and is able to give conclusive feedback. So, I would say that right now quality rules out over the eventual monetary benefits a driver might bring.

Q: When will your F1 situation be solved?
AS:
Maybe it’s already solved. Hopefully I can say more in the coming weeks.

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