Adrian Sutil says that there are no legal reasons why he cannot return to F1 as a Force India driver for next season.
Sutil, who will turn 30 in January, lost his Force India drive in 2011 after being convicted in a German court of wounding Lotus F1 team executive Eric Lux in a night club brawl in Shanghai. But with Nico Hulkenberg moving on to Sauber for 2013, Sutil and his agent have worked hard behind the scened to force his way into contention.
And he says that his criminal record will not be a barrier to getting visas for countries like USA, Australia and Canada which have tough immigration conditions,
“No we checked all the countries and there is no problem for me to travel. All my problems last winter are solved and I’m ready for a new beginning,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live reporter Jennie Gow in an interview at the Race of Champions in Thailand yesterday.
“The signature is what counts,” he said when asked about timing of a deal with Force India. “They know who I am and how to work with me; in the last five years we got a lot of experience. There’s not a lot to say, it’s up to Vijay (Mallya), it’s his decision. And hopefully he will make the right one so I am in the car.
“I’m quite relaxed; I know how to handle this situation, I’ve done the maximum I can do at the moment and now it’s up to them to decide if I’m in the seat or not.”
Sutil is up against Jules Bianchi, Jaime Alguersuari, Kamui Kobayashi and possibly Bruno Senna for the seat alongside Paul di Resta.
Sutil said that the return of Kimi Raikkonen to F1 after two years on the sidelines showed that his speed was undiminished and there was value in teams hiring drivers of proven quality who have spent some time out of F1. “I’m much more settled in my life and I’m ready for a new beginning in F1,” said Sutil.
Sutil was in Thailand at the weekend commentating on the German pairing of Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel winning the sixth consecutive Nations cup at the Race of Champions event.
Fittingly, another driver who spent a year out of F1 won the individual title yesterday: Romain Grosjean.