Exclusive Adrian Sutil Q&A: Its good to be back 01 Mar 2013
Its been a long wait, but earlier this week Adrian Sutil was finally confirmed as Paul di Restas 2013 team mate at Force India, resuming their successful partnership of 2011. After his first day back in the car testing, having been given the nod over the teams 2012 reserve Jules Bianchi, Sutil spoke to Formula1.com about his return to the grid
Q: Adrian, how did you cope emotionally with having to wait so long for confirmation of your drive?
Adrian Sutil: We had no other choice but to wait. And we did all we could to make it happen. I had a great test last week that showed that I still havent lost it, so from that day on I said to myself now its up to them to decide.
Q: How emotional is it to back with your F1 family at Force India?
AS: Its good to be back and it felt from the first day as if I had never been away. It helped a lot that I know this team so well and that the whole team welcomed me. These guys from Sahara Force India made it very easy to come back and to feel good from the first moment on.
Q: Who told you - and when?
AS: My manager Manfred Zimmermann was in contact with Force India over the last few days, weeks and months. Im sure he never wrote so many emails in his life, asking guys, when will you decide?
Q: Was there ever a moment when you felt that everything was lost and F1 racing was out of your reach?
AS: No, we always believed in our chance to come back. We worked hard to make it as difficult as possible for (Force India boss) Vijay (Mallya) to decide against me. Im very thankful to Force India that I do get this second chance.
Q: What do you think swayed the decision in your favour?
AS: I had a great time with Force India and I had two good seasons in 2010 and 2011, with P9 in the drivers championship. The team knows me better than any other team. And, for sure, we left Force India 2011 in peace and we always stayed in contact. And as I just said before, my test last week showed that Im still in good shape and that I have not lost it. In the end that is what matters. (laughs)
Q: You were more of known quantity, whereas Jules Bianchi would have been more of a gamble - did that play to your advantage? It is obvious nowadays that both drivers have to deliver if a team is to secure a good position in the constructors standing, and did your share of delivering for Force India in 2011...
AS: Thats true. There is a very strong and close midfield and if you want to climb up as a team in the constructors championship you need two strong drivers who can deliver. And my P9 in the 2011 standings demonstrated that I can deliver.
Q: How big a help were Mercedes? Does this mean that Force India will again be racing with Mercedes engines in 2014?
AS: I honestly dont know, but all I have heard is that Mercedes supported me and tried to help me, which gives me a very good feeling.
Q: You will again be racing alongside Paul di Resta. Do you see the two of you as a strong pairing that can fend off the likes of Hulkenberg/Gutierrez at Sauber and Maldonado/Bottas at Williams, the immediate competitors of Force India?
AS: Paul and I both had a very strong season in 2011 and our goal this year must be to beat Sauber and Williams. If thats possible we will see, as nobody can predict any pecking order before Melbourne as, of course, it all depends on how good our package is - and how good that of the others is.
Q: The Force India showed very good pace at the end of the 2012 season - do you feel it has retained the momentum?
AS: So far I have had just two days in the new car and I never drove the 2012 car. During these two days I had a very good feeling, which gives me the hope that we have a good chance to start the season well and that we will be able to develop the car even further in the course of the year. Of course, scoring as many points as possible is also very high up on my agenda.
Q: How are you planning to go about the 2013 season? How much of an issue will it be that youve been away for over a year?
AS: Yes, Ive been out for 14 months, but to be honest when I started in F1 in 2007 I had in total maybe six to eight testing days. Now I have driven 90 Grands Prix in five years and I do have a lot of experience. I trained a lot, I feel relaxed and free, and the rest will come back soon.
Q: Is it a disadvantage that you have had so little time to learn how to read the Pirelli tyres? Others have the benefit of over a years experience with them - and still many are not sure that they understand them completely?
AS: It is as it is. I cant change it and I have to live with it. It has been always a strength of mine, challenging situations like this.
Q: Obviously your first wish for 2013 has already come true: returning to F1 racing. What would be another wish for this season?
AS: After 90 Grands Prix, five years of waiting and being - with a P4 - very close to a podium, I want to finally be on the podium. This is my wish for 2013.
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