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What are Hulkenberg’s chances of a Force India deal?
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What are Hulkenberg’s chances of a Force India deal?
Posted By: James Allen  |  09 Dec 2010   |  5:14 pm GMT  |  59 comments

Brazilian Grand Prix polesitter Nico Hulkenberg should find out very soon if he is going to be on the grid next season, as Force India is poised to decide its drivers. And Mercedes may well hold the key.

Hulkenberg: Force India chance(Darren Heath)


The team has come up from the back of the grid in the last two years thanks to a technology partnership with Mercedes and McLaren, which provides them with an engine, gearbox and hydraulics system. And now it finds itself in the enviable position of having several strong drivers vying for seats, one of which is Hulkenberg.

The incumbents are Adrian Sutil and Tonio Liuzzi, but neither was named on the official entry list last week. Test driver Paul di Resta and Hulkenberg are also in the frame. I understand that team owner Vijay Mallya has been in the UK this week working on this burning issue with his senior management, ahead of the F1 commission meeting today and tomorrow’s world council meeting and FIA Gala.

Hulkenberg’s chance comes from the interest Mercedes has in him. Since Williams released Hulkenberg, Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug has been in discussions with his manager Willi Weber about the future. One option is for him to become the reserve driver for Mercedes GP, but with no testing allowed, the more attractive option is for him to stay current and up to speed by racing with Force India and then he can move across to Mercedes to partner Nico Rosberg when Schumacher retires.

“That’s no big secret – Force India is our best shot, but it is also no secret that quite a few drivers are trying to land a seat there,” Hulkenberg told F1.com. “We are talking to them and let’s wait and see what develops.”

As Force India is a customer of Mercedes there is clearly a deal to be done, it depends on price and whether the team is happy to be used as a development ground for Mercedes. Meanwhile Di Resta is also backed by Mercedes, having won the DTM with them this season.

Haug has been keen to see the Scotsman in the Force India seat for some time and has long promoted his candidacy. But does he want Hulkenberg more?

Tonio Liuzzi has a contract but is not considered as strong a driver as Sutil, let alone Hulkenberg, who stood out in the second half of this season.

Hulkenberg was told he was being dropped by Williams in the paddock soon after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in favour of Pastor Maldonado, who brings a substantial budget from the Venezuelan oil company.

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59 Comments
  1. Abhi says:

    What are the chances of a Di Resta – Hulkenberg lineup? Or is Sutil definitely in the frame for 2011? Sounds like Liuzzi is a goner…

    1. Thomas says:

      Very unlikely. It will be Sutil and Hulk, what a strong lineup that would be. Sutil struggled a bit during the end of the season but that was manaily because of his car, afterall he dominated his teamate throught the season befor the last couple of races. Hulkenberg has won countless trophies of much higher value than DTM in relation to F1. He won the GP2 (F1 second tier) by the largest ever margin and also won A1 GP Championship with team Germany, Formula BMW ADAC and the list goes on. DiResta is a year older and has won just DTM and F3 masters and euroseries, which by the way Hulk also won enough said. Hulk is much better!!! Which is why he will team up with Sutil and not di Resta its just common sence.

  2. Uppili says:

    My prediction is that Sutil will be retained on a one year contract as it works well both; Di Resta will get the second race seat and Hulkenburg will get seat time in first free practice sessions with Force India. Works out well for all concerned. As for Liuzzi, DTM beckons….

  3. Simon F says:

    James, do you think it’s a case of Sutil plus one other or is there a chance of it being a totally new line up for Force India with Hulkenberg and Di Resta? Sutil seemed to be trying to grab a seat at one of the bigger teams (Renault in particular) and I wonder if this might have irritated the Force India management.

    1. James Allen says:

      Not sure. Sutil brings quite a bit of sponsorship from Medion.

  4. Seán Craddock says:

    Would love to see Di Resta in a race seat next season. A decent car like a Force India is where he can make a name for himself.

    Hulkenberg and Sutil deserve a race seat next season as well though, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t.

    I think the latter two are the most likely to end up together, I couldn’t see Sutil being let go. But I would really like to see Di Resta sooner rather than later

  5. Richard M says:

    I would have Hulkenberg and Di Resta and drop both Liuzzi and Sutil.

    1. jose arellano says:

      i was going to say exactly the same thing..

      Petrov to virgin.
      Suti to renault.

      Di resta and hulkenberg in force india.

    2. Irish con says:

      I couldn’t agree more. I said that right after the last race. Sutil and liuzzi have had there chances. Both have proved there not of the top standard so give the 2 young guns ago a la sauber

  6. Tommy boy says:

    Would love the Hulk alongside di Resta, Sutil isn’t going to make it and Liuzzi even less so.

  7. Dave says:

    Definately take Hulkenburg over Liuzzi – would take lots of drivers over him – never rated him

    1. Alexx says:

      I agree, Luizzi seems a bit bland in the race. He never captures the spotlight, unless its a crash! Having said that, he also has a fair amount of bad luck.

      I think Hulk & Sutil will race this year with di Resta replacing Sutil in 2012.

  8. Jo Torrent says:

    What a position does Force India finds itself in. It has the most sought seats on the grid today.

    Not only they can hire drivers with great capabilities or experience or both but they can do so and pay very little money for having them. They can even seek from good drivers to bring some sponsors to back their talent.

    I think that Liuzzi isn’t worthier of the seat than DiResta or the Hulk. He had a lot of chances in F1 and he didn’t deliver enough.

    Keeping Sutil is maybe wise as he will provide continuity and be a reference for the team to judge their own performance and his team mate.

    It’s hard to choose between DiResta and the Hulk. Both deserve but DiResta is a riskier choice. Being good in DTM doesn’t necesseraly translate into F1 and vice versa. DiResta is a rookie, an unknown quantity in F1 even if he did FP.

    There’s a certain Heidfeld whose main weakness is charisma (or lack of it). I want to remind everybody on this blog that he finished ahead of Kubica in the ranking in their last year together at BMW, that he always challenged the Pole and that he beat Webber when they were at Williams. Yet everybody talks about how special and good is Kubica and nobody mentions Heidfeld. When you’re German, there’s always the Schumi shadow and now there’s Vettel’s too so it’s very hard to exist.

    For me the best choice is to keep one of the current drivers. For the 2nd driver, the best choice is Heidfeld than the Hulk than DiResta.

    The problem with this ranking is that there are already too many Germans on the grid and ForceIndia might end with 2 Germans too. It’s unwise from a commercial and a sponsorship point of view and even TV coverage. If this factor is important to Mallaya which isn’t that obvious than DiResta and Liuzzi have good chances.

    In the end, I don’t think that ForceIndia will ever be in such a strong position to attract good or even special drivers. They’d better make a good use of the opportunity.

    1. Neil says:

      I think when Heidfield and Merc parted company (ie when Merc chose Kimi over him from Sauber) there was a bit of bad feeling. Not sure that has subsided. And it certianly wouldn’t suit Merc’s young driver scheme.

      Neil.

    2. S.J.M says:

      I think that Heidfield might price himself out, as you say Force India can have the pick of the litter and command the wage issue. In this case, theres probably another driver willing to do the same job but for a few pennies less, which is a handy thing in the expensive world of F1.

  9. Madhu says:

    Any chance of Karun chandhok in the force india team?

    1. unoc says:

      bahahahaahahahah…

      probably no.

      THere is a list of drivers who would grab the seat…

      Chandhok – had a small run
      Senna – better history and better in worse car
      Hidfeld – as fast as kubica but lacking the praise
      Hulk – good rookie still growing
      Sutil – appears to have pulled it together this year and is one to look at next year
      Liuzzi – was starting to shape up at the end
      Di Resta – FP was good, won DTM
      Grojean – really not.. but wanted a 2nd chance
      Piquet even – was his first chance that good if he ended up crying over it, being smashed into a corner by the guy who is your manager also being your boss and has a good history too
      De la rosa – wants to try again… was matching it with kobayashi which appears to be no mean feat for someone who hasn’t driven in ages, might go back to McLaren TD role
      Probably more…

      That being said
      RBR, McL, F, Merc, W, Sau, TR = all done
      Renault = kubica + probably petrov (they have said)
      Force India = conundrum x2

      Lotus = done (I think)
      Virign = 1 seat up in the air
      HRT = whoever has the most money wins the seat until the money goes away or more is produce by another driver

    2. Chris Chong says:

      Yeah, why not Karun Chandok? Surely his performances in HRT have proven his grit – wrestling an under-developed car to the finish line.

      He finished in 7 of the 10 races he’s participated in (he was classified as a finisher in Monaco, in spite of being rear-ended by Trulli in the last corner).

      Of his two other DNFs, one was the result of hitting a bump on an unfamiliar circuit, and with virtually no prior running in the car (that he finished the next race was an incredible feat).

      The only other DNF was because of a chop by Jamie in the Torro Rosso.

      So he’s a really safe pair of hands, did reasonably well in junior formulae and is a really articulate, all-round nice guy.

      Hire him, Force India. He’s a really likable character and surely would boost the sports’ popularity in India. He’s unlikely to be any worse than Tonio either.

      Doooo it…

    3. Luca says:

      i’d like to see him in a car too – Force India would make sense esp with a Indian GP coming.
      I recall Lewis saying he rated Karun as a very good driver from their GP2 days (i think).

    4. elbowchris says:

      That I would love to see. Can you imagine Karun in a Force India at the Indian GP. the Fans would go bonkers.
      Though I can’t see Karun going to Force India, I would love him to get a seat somewhere next season. He was good to watch when he was given the chance.

  10. S.J.M says:

    I think its a case of Sutil + Hulk/Di Resta, whichever can bring the most money in. Im not calling either a pay driver, they’re too good for that as both are fine drivers.

    Theres a case for both drivers, Di Resta has been with the team for a while, knows the staff and has been their test/reserve driver and just won DTM, and as a Brit im slightly biased in wanting to see what he’s capable of in F1. But Hulks had that F1 racing experince and won GP2. Both would appear to be quick and just as capable. But im sure Di Resta has acknowledged he doesnt bring in as much sponsorship as others, but that would appear to be the case with Hulkenberg otherwise he would still be at Williams.

    As i said, Its Sutil + 1, with loss of key personel over the season, i cant see them dropping an established driver in favour for both Hulk & Di Resta. I wouldnt want to be Vijay Mallaya in having to choose between them.

  11. Brian says:

    I wonder why Mercedes would be so keen to promote Hulkenberg – simply because he is German, because they don’t really rate Rosberg as a true Hamilton/Alonso/Vettel-level talent or have they already given up on Schumacher? I would be really disappointed if Force India promoted someone else to a race seat over Di Resta – it wouldn’t seem very honourable behaviour…but perhaps par for the course with F1.

    Di Resta is no risk, he has done Fridays for Force India and has beaten Vettel in F3. If he was German, he would already be in F1 end of story.

    If this were to be done at the behest of Mercedes then it would only heighten my despair of Mercedes’ apparent policy of only placing German drivers in F1. Can it be a coincidence that Mercedes own line-up consisted of three Germans with no sign of the team’s long-time test driver, a certain Mr. A. Davidson…

    History tells us that Mercedes was at its strongest when it appointed the best drivers irrespective of their nationality – Fangio and Moss anyone? Nuvolari, Seaman, Caracciola? I wonder what Alfred Neubauer would have made of a “Germans only” approach…

    This whole scenario of drivers being appointed for seemingly nationalistic, sponsorship or marketing reasons is making a mockery of F1 and ultimately devalues the brand. The best drivers in the world should be driving the best cars in the world. What is the point of drivers winning in lower categories if there is now no way of reaching F1 if he/she is not from the “right” nation?

    It is time for the FIA/FOM to address this and pay for a guaranteed drive in F1 for the winners of F2 and one of the F3 series (maybe on a rotational basis) because not enough talent is progressing upwards into F1 with the current system. Perhaps we also need to look at a time-limited superlicence so that more drivers get a shot at F1 – the likelihood is that if you’ve been in F1 for 10 years and haven’t won the title then it ain’t gonna happen – perhaps if you have won the title then you could get an extension. I also don’t think that former champions should be allowed to make a comeback after years out (no names ;o) and occupy a seat which should, by rights, go to someone new. Would Eric Cantona get a starting place at Man Utd now? No, because for all its faults, in football players are selected on the basis of their current performance on the pitch, not what they did X years ago, where they come from, how big their family and friends’ bank balances are, if they are chums of the team sponsor or if the marketing dept says it’s a good idea…

    1. Frenchie says:

      That’s a bit harsh: Jenson won the title in his tenth season and Mansell wasn;t exactly young either.

      I see your point though. Heidfeld, Liuzzi, Petrov, Di Grassi, Buemi, etc, this lot aren’t going to be F1 champions.

    2. Jo Torrent says:

      A lot of nonsense here. I almost disagree with everything you said and you said a lot.

      Let’s start with the beginning. About Mercedes hiring only German drivers, I would like to remind that they wanted Button to stay with them but he didn’t and he wasn’t German. The driver line up was supposed to be Button/Rosberg. Rosberg was supposed to be the German driver (only 50%). When Button left, it was Brawn (an Englishman) who approached Schumacher and everybody got excited about his comeback no matter what their nationality was. The only guy who didn’t like the idea was Rosberg because he feared Schumi and his influence on the team and his links with Brawn.

      I’m sure of one thing, if Alonso or Hamilton were available Mercedes would do its best to bring them. So that stuff about Mercedes wanting a German line up absolutely is rubbish. I remind that Mercedes through its long relationship with McLaren never imposed a German driver not even once.

      In your own post, you’re behaving the same way you’re accusing Mercedes. You’re pointing exclusively to British drivers DiResta and Davidson. Your argument about Davidson isn’t worth an answer so I’ll let that.

      What about DiResta, does he deserve a race seat ? Absolutely but no more than Hulkenberg and no less either. The fact that DiResta beat Vettel in F3 means nothing. Frenzen beat Schumacher in F3 too I think, when they graduated to F1 it went completely differently. So, don’t get too carried away.

      Now, the argument about nationality. The fact that there are too many German drivers is proof that they deserved their seats contrarely to what you suggest. When there are too many Germans, even German media won’t cover all of them. Only the best get coverage because they are too many and that’s bad for sponsors of the German drivers in the little teams. For example, if Glock was French he’ll get much more coverage as he’s the only French driver in the grid. As he’s German, German media will concentrate on Vettel, the Mercedes pair and if there’s enough space left on Sutil and eventually Glock. So the last 2 didn’t seal their seats with the coverage they might get. Their talent and experience helped them more than anything. The Hulk was dumped despite his talent and despite being German as you suggested.

      The last point is the comparison with football which is absolutely absurd. In F1 you need to develop the car and you need money for that. If you can raise that money relatively easily, you’ll hire the best drivers you can. If you can’t raise the money yourself you rely on whatever solution. If that means hiring paying drivers than so be it. After all, what’s the point of hiring a good driver to put him in a car you can’t develop. It’s neither good for the driver you hired nor for you.

      In Football, you don’t develop anything. The team’s strength comes from the players and the coach. End of story. Put Vettel in a HRT and Messi in WestHam and you’ll see the difference.

      1. malcolm.strachan says:

        Agreed. Very strong rebuttal.

        In addition to that, who says F1 should be where 21-year-olds automatically get a seat because they won a lower championship? That’s ridiculous.

        The teams should decide who drives for them, not the governing bodies. Enough young drivers are given the chance to impress as third drivers in Friday practice and at the young driver test. I think that is very gracious of the teams and the FIA; anything more would result in under-experienced drivers coming in, screwing up and getting shuffled aside for more fresh blood that will continue the vicious hire-fire cycle.

    3. TG says:

      Here, here – couldn’t agree more.

      Sponsorship and nationality shouldn’t come into it.

      1. malcolm.strachan says:

        Please read Jo’s comment, above.

    4. Ayron says:

      I think you’re reading a bit too much conspiracy theory into it.

      As a famous German brand Mercedes must surely feel an obligation to pick German drivers if they are avaiable and up to the task. Ferrari would do the same thing… and McLaren have.

      Rosberg is a real talent and will continue to perform well in F1 I am sure. Schumacher was a no-brainer as far as his marketability for a new team looking for sponsorship dollars and despite a few years away from the sport has an undoubted pedigree. he is also known for being able to assist his team to improve the car dramatically and this is also vital for a new team.

      Hulkenberg is also a great talent and with Schumacher having a short shelf life, they need to be mindful of finding a quality replacement. If that replacement can be a German also, why wouldn’t they? With so many Germans in the F1 grid each Sunday at the moment it is relatively easy for them to find and support local talent and they should.

      I am sure that if the talent pool starts to move away from the current German trend then so will Mercedes, but in the meantime they would be silly not to maximise their opportunities.

    5. Greg says:

      I have to disagree, this is like saying Mclaren only having British Drivers?? Its Mercedes choice who sits in the car and as British I would be proud if we had a British car manufacturer in F1, but we don’t really have any do we? oh, Mclaren make road cars and has two British drivers…..

      My choice for Force India would be Sutil & Karun, its a win win nationality line up too, Sutil for Mercedes and Karun for India.

      I’ve always liked Sutil, he’s got a good fight in him, I think he lost it towards the end o the season because he was trying too hard for a better drive next year.

      Hulk for the best part didn’t stand out, a so called top young gunner should of been closer to Rubens and he was not.

    6. Ian says:

      With regards to your 10 year Super Licence limit, that would mean that Rubens would be out!

      I’m not sure there would be many people agreeing with that.

    7. Tom says:

      I think it’s a sensible move.

      Hulkenberg is lower risk than Di Resta. If Mercedes set up their team for the future as Rosberg/Hulk, they’ve got a stable team that they can plan long sponsorship contracts with, and a team with promising talent (and with one driver a few years older but still in his prime).

      Give them a car and they’d easily challenge for the title. I’m not writing Di Resta off, and I think he deserves it more – but Hulk is a safer bet and integrates better into the Mercedes ‘dream-team’.

    8. MAS says:

      I think it’s more a matter of hedging their bets rather than Nationalism. Rosberg, Hulkenberg and di Resta are all worthy of support. Mercedes is in a position to bind Hulkenberg to them cheaply and so they will. Given how volatile the driver market is these days it’s better to have a lot of irons in the fire.

      The fact that they had to resort to hiring Schumacher in the first place was precisely because Mercedes didn’t have a “Driver-Stable” – They had no options while the competition had the very best drivers so they had to take a chance on the old man.

      Even though that didn’t really pan out, Schumacher’s presence made them vulnerable to marketing-considerations. Sacking him would be a loss of face. They’ll want to avoid that in the future and that can be achieved by scooping up every talented driver they can and place them at “Vassal-teams” like FI.

      If Hulkenberg gets the nod over di Resta I’ll be a little disappointed but it will probably be because he has a season’s worth of experience, not because he’s German.

  12. Abhi says:

    I think the “but Di Resta is a rookie so Hulk is the safer choice” argument holds little water. He beat Vettel in F3, took the DTM crown at his first crack, and knows the FI car from Friday practice.

    After losing to Di Resta, Vettel put in only a handful of practice sessions before starting his first race for BMW at Indy. The next year he wowed everyone in the mid-pack Toro Rosso.

    There’s no reason why Di Resta can’t emulate a similar level of success in the Force India next year.

    Finally, Di Resta is a good marketing proposition for Mallya’s White & Mackay whiskey brand. I’m sure Mallya would love to have a young Scotsman hawking his whiskey on televisions around the world.

    I vote for Sutil + DiResta with Heidfeld as the test and development driver.

    1. Tomcat173 says:

      Surely the Hulk having one year with Williams under his belt is indeed a safer option than Di Resta. I would have thought Force India’s move up the grid is better served if they get Hulk onboard for 2011.

      What has Di Resta done so far to deserve a full time drive? Why would he emulate Vettel’s meteoric rise?

    2. Dave C says:

      The problem here is that you think because Di Resta ‘beat’ Vettel in F3 for a few races he will automatically emulate what Vettel’s done, so we’re expecting a win and pole positions in the Force India whilst in the wet constantly fighting with the big guns, then go to a title challenging mercedes and beat Rosberg and become the youngest champion…
      Oh wait that’s not possible he’s already older than Vettel. The thing is because he won more points than Vettel in a few races in F3 doesn’t make him a better driver, e.g Frdntzen was quicker than Schumacher in sports cars but in F1 it was no contest, Heidfeld beat Raikkonen at Sauber in 2001 but deep down mercedes knew Kimi had more talent and they were right, Fisi easily beat Button that same year in Benetton but who was it that went on to become world champion? Hell even Brundle was almost on the same level as Senna in F3 and was nowhere near as good when it came to F1.
      Point is Di Resta is not as good a driver as Vettel and we will see that in a few years when Di Resta can’t win a race like Rosberg yet we might see Vettel winning another 2 WDC, Mark my word Vettel > Di Resta easily.

      1. Nando says:

        Vettel is a better F1 driver than Di Riesta at the moment, but as you’ve pointed out things can change with time. There is no reason to think Di Riesta wouldn’t be competing for poles and race wins if he was given a car as dominate as last years Red Bull.

  13. Eddie says:

    With the indian gp this year I can see force india wanting a indian presence within the team. how about hulk/di resta performing half the year and Karun chandhok run the second half, which might keep everyone happy

    1. Adam Taylor says:

      I can imagine a team further down the field wanting to have chandhok in the team to help keep the bank balance healthy and provide connections with various sponsors.

  14. Jonny Kiehlmann says:

    The last sentence rather implies Moldonado is only getting the seat for his money — it’s probably worth mentioning as this year’s GP2 champion he very arguably has a good case for deserving an F1 seat.

    1. Nando says:

      He might well deserve an F1

  15. Prisoner Monkeys says:

    I never cared much for Hulkenberg. It seems like one pole position in variable conditions and people are willing to forget a season of mistakes. Sure, others might have been more visible – like, say, Vitaly Petrov – but Hulkenberg’s have been there. Like when he spun in Bahrain, or tried that incredibly foolish pass on Sutil (or maybe Rosberg; it was unclear who it was) at the hairpin in Canada, dislodged his rear wing and got a drive-through when he pitted to replace it. He’s got an aversion to chicanes, regularly missing them in Belgium, Italy and Singapore, plays way too rough with the other kids (like Petrov and Glock in Singapore), has a tendency to finish in a lower position than he started in and generally overdrives the car. He’s also in a bad habit of making exceptionally poor starts; he’s been the most consistently-bad starter all season long. Look at what he did in Suzuka – he bogged down for a full second before being clipped by a Petrov with nowhere to go.

    Speaking of Petrov, look at some of the stuff he’s done by comparison. When Alonso put pressure on Hulkenberg in Brazil, Hulkenberg wilted after about four laps. When Alonso did it to Petrov in Abu Dhabi, the Russian endured for forty. You might think that’s just the nature of the circuit, but Petrov had previsouly done it for thirty laps in Turkey before Alonso tagged him. Petrov might have had some very visible crashed across the season, but at least he’s done stuff that’s actually impressive. There aren’t many regular drivers who can withstand pressure from a title-hungry Alonso for ten laps, much less a rookie who can do it for forty. Not only is Petrov immune to Alonso’s brand of pressure, he can also make Alonso forget who he is passing – Alonso gave no indication he remembered the last time the two met in Turkey when he tried passing the Renault in Abu Dhabi. That’s not very Alonso-ish.

    I wouldn’t be disappointed if Hulkenberg didn’t appear on the grid in 2011. Or ever again. He’s just consistently underwhelmed, having been bested by a guy who only started in open-wheelers five years ago, hadn’t enjoyed career-long support from an established and respected Formula 1 team and only drove a Formula 1 car for the first time in winter testing. Petrov might have had a better car at the beginning of the season, but The R30 and FW32 were comparable on pace by the end of the year.

  16. Nico says:

    James I found the second to last paragraph interesting in that you seem to rate Hulkenburg over Sutil?

  17. Chris Orr says:

    I would expect Sutil to retain the set for money reasons.
    Force Indian dream team is Nico Hulkenberg and Paul Di Resta.
    Di resta deserves his chance

  18. Ryan Eckford says:

    I thought Renault(Lotus Renault GP) would have taken Hulkenberg on as Petrov didn’t do that much with a good car, compared to Hulkenberg in an above average car, especially his pole laps in Brazil which were smart and superb in the conditions. It seems like to drive in F1 these days, you need to bring money to the table, rather than performance. As Martin Brundle said in Korea, “You must go for performance”. We have to create rules in which this can happen. It seems the teams think that a ‘pay’ driver can rake in more money than the prizemoney on offer for the constructors championship.

    1. malcolm.strachan says:

      Here’s your choice:

      1) Do you sign a pay driver that is 0.3s slower, but that brings enough money to make the car 1.0s faster?

      2) Do hire the faster driver, but lack the funds to update the car and steadily fall behind the rest of the field because you can’t afford updates?

      What *really* needs to be done is to make the cars more difficult to drive, so that the less talented drivers are considerably slower, rather than the current state where they are only marginally slower. At that point, signing a pay driver that is 1.2s slower to make the car 1.0s faster doesn’t make sense, unless you are willing to sacrifice the pay-driver’s speed and pin all of your hopes on your paid number one.

  19. For Sure says:

    I really hope he doesn’t become a test driver in any team. With testing ban, when you don’t practice you loose your skills. Ask Luca, Schumacher or Nick H.

  20. Michael says:

    It would be Hulk and Di Resta for me

  21. john g says:

    i don’t think that chandhok is even being considered by FI, i can see the hulk getting liuzzi’s seat as he hasn’t impressed the outside world at all (although the guys in the team apparently still rate him very highly) but then sutil (who personally i never rated anyway) i think had a pretty disappointing and inconsistent year. di resta knows the car and the team, but i think if it were between him and the hulk i’d go for the one with a full years F1 experience.

    i’d love to see di resta in the race seat too but as mentioned, both he and hulk bring little in the way of personal sponsorship and that’s going to be something that vijay is looking at. sutil i think should be the one that’s chasing the reserve driver slot, whilst heidfeld would do very well in the second renault seat, petrov having gone to marussia / virgin. but he brings no money with him so it’s not going to happen which is a real shame – as someone else said, up until 2010 (when kubica really raised his game i reckon) heidfeld was on the same level as the guy who everyone is saying is the next big thing.

  22. jay jacob says:

    I’d bet money that talent is key for Mallya. Why? Championship points; you need two talented drivers to continually qualify in Top 10 of Q3. This moves the team up the ladder and closer to the Top 5 constructors, and very importantly, it speaks solid potential of the team and attracts more credible sponsors than financially backed drivers.

    So, no more arguments; Talent Talent Talent. Sutil in, Liuzzi out.

    For the second seat, who’s got more talent: Hulkenberg or Di Resta? No one say say for sure, but the Hulk has credible F1 track record and experience in Williams machinery, the latter will be of value to Force India coz Williams had development pace in 2nd half of season and this knowledge can be used to add another dimension into Force India’s development of the car next season.

    So, my bet is on the Hulk.

    Any comments James?

  23. Greg says:

    James,

    Can you throw any light on HRT current situation. Just read that its up for sale and they have nothing prepared except Engines and this years car.

    Also something about they don’t have to say if they are racing until 3 days before??

    Is JV still looking at a team?

    Thanks

    1. Andy C says:

      I imagine someone will come in and buy them fairly quickly.

      James,

      what chance an MBO led by Colin Kolles? I thought I’d heard of some interesting rumours on that, and him having some very good contacts that might be interested in coming in. Sure they could get the toyota deal up and running under a new owner.

      1. malcolm.strachan says:

        I could see that. Kolles ran Audis in the Le Mans Series rather effectively (Karthikeyan was one of his drivers… might be a good idea to give him a seat again with the Indian GP in mind).

        On the other side, Epsilon Euskadi is still designing their car. This would be a perfect chance for them to get an entry. Buy lots of equipment on the cheap, sell off what you don’t need, use your own designs with the fancy new Williams ‘box… sounds like a good team to me!

  24. Dave Aston says:

    I like Sutil / Di Resta for next year. If Sutil moves on in 2012, I hope Chandok could get a chance.

  25. Robert says:

    Apart from through retirement how often does a driver get a pole and fail to get a drive for the next season? I can think of Fisi last year but that was slightly different.

    Any clues anyone?

  26. Peter says:

    Think Di Resta has more to offer than Hulkenberg. Us Scots need someone else apart from Andy Murray to cheer on!

  27. Andy C says:

    I’d love to see Di Resta and Hulkenburg in the team next season. That would be an exciting lineup.

    I doubt Sutil will be dropped as he comes with a lot of sponsorship. Force India could potentially end up with one of the most exciting young driver lineups on the grid if they took a risk.

  28. Disgrace says:

    Wouldn’t you find it a bit odd they run di Resta most weekends with no intention of promoting him to a race seat? Surely it must be inevitable, because like him, Hulkenberg is a long-term replacement too. Not enough room assuming Sutil stays put.

  29. GuruF1 says:

    Guess with the bar set so high, this will rule out any involvement of Karun- specially for the Indian GP

  30. Indy says:

    As a force fan, I really hope we keep sutil!! he is a very fast driver but the second spot i really don’t know… one thing for sure luzzi needs to go.

    i would love di resta to get the drive has a brit, the team should gain more british fans, this is really a brit team as the team is based in northampton. but the hulk would be fantasic!!!! he is going to be a fantasic driver but really unfair for di resta to have to wait another year for a drive.

    i say sutil and the hulk becuase the car next year is not going to be amasing and as competitve like this year,. the staff who have left has really hurt us and will def effect 2011 car and thats why we should keep sutil as i think he gave most of the input in which the direction r&d went..

    but its a fantasic position to be in for mallya

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