F1 Winter Break
Adrian Sutil: no barriers to my F1 return
Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Dec 2012   |  9:22 am GMT  |  80 comments

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.

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Sutil is not someone befitting the F1 image, a punch up is barely acceptable but "glassing" someone is ridiculous, he obviously has mental issues, the sport is better off without these nutters.


Thank you. Quite agree. Sutil had a decent chance and was not that exciting. Di Resta is close to being in the same position.

Time for new GP2 blood to be given a chance. Why don't the Italians shout louder for Valsecchi ?

Heinzman (Fan of: ALO)

James is there any incentive from the governing body to put fresh faces in cars? IE small subsidy from the FIA for racing rookies?

Would love to see Bianchi in it


Jaime, Bruno, Koba, GP2 rookies ... why insist on Sutil while there are more interesting options on the market?


Its amazing to see that this moral high ground is claimed here against Sutil, while its been generally almost noticed that Alonso was personally and directly involved in the espionage in 2007 and then proceeded to attempt to blackmail his own team with his own utterly illegal and dishonest activity. If Sutil was involved in illegal activity outside of F1 and deserves to be banned, how much more would that apply to Alonso whom everyone has such astoundingly high regard for at the moment?


I don’t get all the fuss around Sutil, He was in F1 for 5 years with the same Mid-Field team & no other team showed any interest in him during that time.

The issue with sutil is that he’s put in 2-3 performances which stand out but a great deal more where he’s been mediocre at best.

monaco 2008 was the stand-out, however do not forget that according to the monaco stewards he would not have finished 4th as he passed 5 cars under a waved yellow flag at lowes so was getting a post race penalty.

looking at 2009, while fisichella was getting pole & contending for the win at spa where was sutil? miles off the pace running well down the order. the car was the best it had ever been that weekend so sutil should have been up there with fisichella, if not ahead of him.

my initial point still stands, if sutil was that good then other teams would have shown interest by now & he’d have moved up the grid. spending 5 years at the same mid-field team with zero interest shown from other teams tells me that he just isn’t that good. he’s had his shot & should move on to let someone else have an opportunity.


He's talented that's for sure but he appears to have an attitude that for the most part ( and most I know who follow F1)... sucks pretty bad


Would much prefer to see Jaime land the seat at Force India.


I think the biggest problem for Sutil is that, while admittedly the equipment at his disposal wasn't the best on the grid, he didn't make the best use of it all the time either. He wasn't able to push the team forward during his stint as team leader, and he didn't really have any stand-out drives as per Fisichella did (or Perez did for Sauber). He also got out-qualified by di Resta up to Monaco, and out-raced a fair few times, which given it was his 5th season and di Resta's debut one isn't encouraging. He's a safe pair of hands, no question, but with the midfield as it is I would imagine Force India are after more than that. Out of the drivers mentioned for the role, I'd probably say Kobayashi is my favoured choice (not that it makes any difference!) - he's shown he's got pace and he was more consistent than Perez as well, so combine that with a decent car and they'd be laughing. That's not to take anything away from Alguersuari, but unfortunately for him race rustiness will count against him after a year out. I genuinely believe his best bet is to get into a third driver role with a top 4 team, push for some Friday practice time (assuming he's eligible) and get them to notice him. It worked for Bottas at Williams after all.


Sutil is an utter [mod], what he lacks in personality he makes up for in spray tan, see above for reference. Not on my grid thanks.


While everyone makes mistakes and deserve a second chance, I am not sure he's much of a role model for the millions of F1 fans of all ages, let alone impressionable young males.

Assault with a glass is a pretty serious criminal offence and I for one would prefer not to have a man of such character racing in F1. I'd be amazed if such behaviour was acceptable to sponsors and their expensive guests in the Paddock Club.

It's bad enough F1 being potentially tainted by the commercial right holders dealings, but a driver with a criminal conviction is a step too far. Ask Bertrand Gachot.


I thought a criminal record was a requirement for entry into Australia...

(ahh, the old ones are still the best)


I can't see any team wanting to take him on despite his driving talent. It might have been different if his offence was outside the F1 circle. I wouldn't share his confidence that unimpeded international travel would be open to him with his record. I always thought it was bizarre that he was convicted in Germany for an offence committed in China.


I believe that as most of the sponsors on the Force India are Mallya's companies if he is happy then so are they so I'm not sure how big an issue that is.

More pressing will be the fact that his sponsors may have dropped him (although FI have said money isn't an important factor i'm sure it is to some extent).

My heart says Kobayashi but my head says it will be between Sutil/Bianchi.


Michael Schumacher. Just so he can drive into Ferraris and Mercs. For the craic like.


What, does F1 suddenly have a "Caesar's wife" requirement?

If having a brawl in a nightclub were to DQ ppl, half the atheletes in every major sport would be out of a job!

Get a grip and move on!


Trust me I am from India and VM needs money than anyone else. He had to partially sell his family business to save his second one plus filed for bail out from banks.


Unless Force India can get Kobayashi for 2013, Sutil would be my preferred top choice, [ahead of Heikki Kovalainen - 2004 Champion of Champions, let's not forget].

One way or another, I am keeping my fingers crossed that we see Kamui back on the grid in 2013. My heart would be so saddened if we loose the highly entertaining Kamikaze-Kobayashi!


Maybe www.Goldenboypromotions.com would'nt mind backing him


How did Di Resta out perform Sutil can i ask? Sutil scored more points and out qualified as well. Now you can mentioned it was his rookie season but he was again outperformed by Hulkenburg.

I really hope Sutil gets his seat back at FI, he is extremely quick and scores points consently. Since the midland days he has perfomed very well. Comparing his talents to the other drivers on the market, in my opinon he is the best of them. Only Kobayashi comes close. what force india should do is sign Kobayashi as a third driver just like what they did with hulkenbourg and then give him a drive in 2014. Hopefully Di resta may find this so called top team seat he thinks he deserves.


james, you've previously said jaime is the logical choice, is this because he's got funding and experience of the new tyres?

i think jules would be the better choice, he's experienced having done friday practice, quick and has an impressive CV (although i know that doesn't guarantee success)


Sutil struggle was down to the tyre at the start of the season as he had to adapt to the pirelli tyre which require smooth style of driving which diresta had and when he got over that after canada he dominated di resta and add to the fact that rokkie performance tend to improve as the season progress.


He may have no legal barrier to returning, but the fashion police may want a word if he's still intent on wearing an Alice band if he does return...

He's a solid midfielder, no more and it seems Force India are replacing like for like after Hulkenburg's departure. I am surprised somewhat that Ferrari haven't been exerting some leverage to place a hopeful in the seat to replace Massa. (As it seems there won't be any top level drivers available for them in 2014 unless Vettel is still their target...)


I rate Sutil pretty highly, he should probably be in F1 on merit, but I hope Force India take Kobayashi.

Mike from Colombia

An idea. Why doesn't Sutil seek an audience with King Lux? He could kiss his ring and offer to driver for Lotus for free in order for him to get back into F1 again.


I second you paul, FI has already got a points finisher in terms of PDR, and they now need an aggressive driver who can take the battle to the established teams. It was sad to Lose Nico Hulkenberg and my choice would be Jamie Alguersuari.


Not a great fan of Sutil... from what I read re the court case, he sounds like he has a rather inflated opinion of himself. An arrogant prima donna?

Wasn't really missed last season. As mentioned Di Resta out drove him in his rookie season.

A bit of Kobayashi magic (has that waned?) or some young blood would be good.


Isn't he a great friend of Hamilton? They 'do' nightclubs together and stuff like that.


Am I the only one who just don't give a damn about Sutil and think think he's a waste of F1 seat at this point???


He might legally be able to come to Australia with his criminal record but we already have enough thugs here without adding more. If he has been convicted for such an offence then he is a thug even if they try to put a differnt spin on things. Maybe he has reformed but why risk it when there are many great prospects that could drive for Force India? I certainly wont be going to our GP if he's coming. Also age is no longer on his side. They should go for a young "hot shot" without a criminal record preferably who can bring a budget to the team.


Not sure at all why DiResta is a given and his seat is not under question for 2013. He hasnt improved from his rookie year and has been beaten by Sutil and Hulkenberg with both german drivers getting better and better the longer we were in the season and DiResta just tailing off towards the end of year.

Having a worse second part of the season is never a good sign for an F1 driver. It shows you are not good at adapting and using the tools you have to your maximum. I wouldnt renew DiRestas contract and go with an all new line up of Kobayashi and Sutil for one year instead and promise the better performing driver a long term contract.


Adrian Sutil is quick, experienced (presumably) still comes with Medion money and is a solid finisher - we know he'd do a decent job. But I can't help thinking that signing him would be a backward step. Di Resta had the upper hand over Sutil in his (Paul's) rookie season in 2011 and there's no reason to think that the situation would be any different if replayed in 2013. Force India need a driver who can push Di Resta (as Hulkenberg did this season)if Force India want to continue to progress.

Personally I'd like to see Jaime Alguersuari get a shot. I don't think we've seen anywhere near the best of him yet - I'd love to see him back in F1.


Why is Kobayashi in contention? I thought Force India made it clear that they want talent, not money.


The only thing he's failed to calculate. The sponsors. Are they really going to be happy with a driver, convicted of wounding another team's chief exec, to be wearing their logos? The moment he was convicted was the moment his F1 career was over. Especially when there are other equally capable drivers on the market. The only way I can see him back is if he is bringing huge amounts of money with him. Not likely giving the above.


If Force India is changing to Ferrari engines in 2014, and they are becoming a satellite team for them, like Torro Rosso for Red Bull, i think Bianchi has the best cards.


I am not sure Sutil would be my first choice (I'd probably pick Kobayashi, all other things being equal, but a close call) but from the drivers mentioned in the article it is good to see a shortlist consisting entirely of drivers who are worthy of F1 seats.

Congratulations to Grosjean for yesterday's win. After some wild(ish) drives in the Internations Cup on Saturday, he drove impeccably on Sunday, defeating both Vettel and Schumacher on merit on his way to victory. I think his time against Vettel may have been the best of the day but open to correction on that. The Frenchman needs some good news!


But Will, wasn't your great-Grandad a criminal?


We australians were sent a safety package by the PM to be "alert but not alarmed" about terrorists some years ago, so i am just applying that to potential F1 thugs as well.

Absolutely nobody took it seriously except me. Anything wrong with that?


This is pretty hilarious. "I will remain alert"?? You think he's coming for you?


Wow. Good luck with "all that"..... I suspect you're going to need it.


Alonso's involvment was not alledged it was established fact, admitted by himself with his own emails offered up as evidence proving his own guilt. No action at all was taken against Alonso, and people such as yourself have no problem at all with his actions or character, and THAT is my point.

Sutil was not accused of or charged with attempted murder, nor did anyone nearly die. And the Sutil incident most certaily was an incident outside of F1, hardly comparable to theft of a rival teams information and attempted blackmail of ones own team due to ones emabrasment over ones own inability to beat ones own rookie team mate.


I always rather liked the comment from an Australian friend: 'England? Where all those criminals came from?'

Thanks to everyone on this site for their informed comment, reminiscences and good humour throughout the year - and to James fro providing such an excellent forum and basis for debate. I wish you all a very happy Christmas.


You are not the only one. Sutil has never really impressed me, and I never believed the hype.

They should get rid of Di Resta as well. Looks like a slower and more boring Heidfeld.

Heinzman (Fan of: ALO)

Sutil nearly killed somebody with a glass and you are comparing it to alleged involvement in espionage for which appropriate charges have already been laid 5 years ago.



yes because it makes sense to deport criminals to a bigger brighter land with more natural resources and golden beaches doesnt it. thank you england for giving us what we deserve hahaha!


of course any convicted criminal is a potential threat. i will remain alert but no alarmed and keep well away from melbourne if he comes. its not much of a problem to stay away from that place anyway.


Australia, the land of convicts.


Sadly I have and do know sociopaths, one of the defining actions are bursts of violent behaviour out of proportion to any acceptable threat or provocation.

Sutil may be the nicest guy in the world 99% of the time but even drunk or under the influence of drugs - have you ever put a glass purposely into someone's throat - to the extent that they needed that many stitches and were about an inch away from a fatal injury?

My point was that the action, as described by the judge in the trial, following the video evidence did not suggest it was anything other than a very deliberate act. Putting it down to merely 'a bit of a wild club atmosphere' was a profoundly dumb defence of the man.

I have no real care whether sutil gets the seat or not (other than assuming that there are other qualified drivers who haven't been convicted of the equivalent of GBH) but people are defending an action that from most anybody else would be considered unforgivable. You think if Lewis Hamilton had sliced open lux's neck after a glass of champagne he'd be back after a short lay off? I think people would quite rightly reassess his mental state and assume this was a very bad sign.


There is no way that Sutil is a sociopath. You have clearly never seen a sociopath before.


And being a sociopath doesn't mean you stick glasses in people....


I think that something people sometimes forget (Or ignore) about Algersuari is that he was thrown into an F1 car with no real testing, I feel before he was really ready for F1.

He spent 2010 figuring out F1 & did a good job for someone with his level of experience.

I think its fair to say he struggled a bit in early 2011 but I really felt he was starting to show massive improvement in the 2nd half of that year & by the end felt he finally had F1 figured out.

I honestly believe he'd have gone into 2012 much stronger & was genuinely surprised STR dropped him as it seemed many others in F1 were.

If I was a team boss looking at Sutil or Algersuari, I would go with Jaime as I feel he's got more potential going forward.

Sutil spent 5 years at Midland/Spyker/Force India & I think he kind of hit his potential & showed everything he had, Jaime I feel was still getting better & still has a lot more to show.


And his date of birth!


You've got to be kidding me... Do you really think Adrian Sutil represents a threat to the people of Australia?


Thank you for doing the research! I can't believe how many people have fallen for the Di Resta bluff...


Hamilton not showing up in Court for Sutil may well have been down to McLaren corporate pressure ?

I'd give Kobayashi the Force India seat.


I go to a lot of club nights actually and have quite a risk-taking personality. I've even been in one or two fights in my time - but people who stick a glass in someone's throat at club nights go to jail. Type A personalities doesn't mean you are a sociopath.


Have another (closer) look at his performances in the second half of 2011..


According to his website, he had raised about 8 million Euro in sponsorship.



He was a friend until Hamilton (rightfully) decided not to show up in court for Sutil.

Personally I'd like to see Kobayashi in the Force India seat. I will miss his dedicated moves next year …


not since Lewis failed to speak up for him when he was facing the GBH charges.


Wasn't & "did". I don't think either one is a "Secret Santa" to the other.



I must have a poor memory of Alguersuari. I found him average at best in qualifying (Red Bull dropped him as he wasn't fast enough) but steady in the races, making good use of the Toro Rosso's straightline speed to make passes.

I'd expect Jaime to race like Paul di Resta, but qualify behind him more often than not. Whoever got to the end of the first lap in front would probably finish ahead.


I think Force India also got itself into a tangle in effectivey having di Resta on promotion from test driving and doing well and Hulkenberg as test driver with an expectation of a race seat in 2012. So di Resta needed to be close to Sutil to hang on, but then Sutil had the trial and it made Force India's decision easier.

On performance, Sutil certainly started the year poorly, but some races such as Interlagos were reall strong.


Totally agree with this comment. I think the population of these pages are frankly people that don't get out much to wild nightclubs (I don't anymore myself, but a 10 years ago quite a bit). Strange things happen there, much is drunk and consumed, and you chances for getting into a bust-up grows the more times you go. And these drivers go out - some of them a LOT. I don't think Sutil is a "thug" as people have tried to label him - hotheaded and aggressive, but these drivers are all Type A+ personalities, and combined with alcohol and rivalries I am not surprised that eventually there would be trouble. It happened to happen to Sutil, but the odds say that it could have happened to a number of drivers on the grid - including Lewis if he failed to have his escorts with him. A few drivers would be hard to believe in this situation: Jenson, Grosjean, Massa come to mind as non-violent. But can anyone NOT see Alonso levelling someone in anger? Or even Webber, who visibly struggles to control himself at times? Sutil got unlucky, end of. That doesn't mean he is a better choice than Alguesuari...just that it shouldn't be automatic against him, or that he has terminally bad character. (His hair might however...)


Stabbing someone in the neck with a broken glass is whole step up from a bit of fisticuffs. You are the one that needs to get a grip.


I have to agree. I don't think Sutil deserves a place back in the supposed pinnacle of motorsport, and I certainly don't want to see him back in.


Sutil did outscore Di Resta 42-27 and outqualified more times as well I think, unsure how he didn't have the upper hand over Di Resta.


Sorry but how did Di Resta have the upper hand over Sutil in 2011 when the latter finished 9th in the championship compared to his 13th position. If anything it's Di Resta who needs to prove himself after a lacklustre season, even finishing 1 place lower than his rookie year.

Difficult to say about Jaime, but it reminds me of the time when many were rooting for Chandhok to be given a seat when he was doing media duties...


I am not sure that Di Resta had the upper hand against Sutil in 2011. Sutil out scored him and out qualified him in that year.

I'm not trying to belittle Di Resta, but I always assumed that the reason Sutil was dropped by Force India was due to his legal troubles only. His speed and performances were always above par.

James, is this correct?


"Di Resta had the upper hand over Sutil in his (Paul’s) rookie season in 2011"


Qualy head to head Sutil 10-9

Race head to head Sutil 10-6

Points Sutil 42, Di Resta 27

If it wasn't for Sutil's struggles with the tyres at the beginning of the year it would have been very one sided.

Don't believe everything the BBC bias would have you believe.


Yeah Paul I tend to agree, I'd give Jamie a go. I think he is chomping at the bit to prove himself after Torro Rosso made the stupid mistake of dumping both drivers. He was definitely a cut above Buemi and he was improving. Bianchi can start as reserve.


Because Force India want talent.


You do know Kobayashi doesn't have enough sponsorship to buy a seat anywhere?


Take a closer look at Kobayashi's 2012. Only 6 points less than Perez, 11-9 in qualifying to Perez and more consistent. He could well have got another podium in Belgium too. Given that Perez is considered talented enough to drive for McLaren, I hardly think that Kobayashi is not deserving of an F1 drive.

I don't see why Sutil should get the Force India drive. He's had long enough to prove himself now and is not likely to develop any further. Alguersuari or Kobayashi still could.


Kobayashi's a pay driver, is he?

The amazing things you can read on the internet...


Kobayashi doesnt have any money, and a good bit of talent. From that shortlist though, Algersuari would be my first choice.


And you don't think Kobayashi is ? Taking a podium at Japan in a Sauber is pretty noteworthy:


Better yet, Kobayashi at Lotus. Sadly, I think neither will happen. What a waste!

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