Insight: How did Di Resta fare against team mate Sutil at Force India
Posted By: James Allen  |  04 Dec 2013   |  12:07 pm GMT  |  122 comments

Continuing our series of analysis of the head-to-head records of team mate pairings, here’s the analysis of Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil’s season at Force India.

At least one driver, maybe both, will miss out on a seat with the team next year after Force India announced that Nico Hulkenberg will return to the outfit in 2014.

Most people expect ex-McLaren driver Sergio Perez to get the second seat, but with the team breaking with tradition and not naming both drivers at the same time, it seems there is still room for negotiation.

Sutil and Di Resta were first team-mates at Force India in 2011. Sutil spent a year away from the sport last season after the team chose to run Nico Hulkenberg, but returned to partner Di Resta once more as the Scot signed for his third season with the team this year.

The stats show that Di Resta had the stronger season, the Scot out-qualifying his team mate 11 times to eight. He also achieved the team’s highest grid slot of the season – fifth – at Spa, once place better than Sutil’s best which came in Bahrain.

In terms of race performance, Di Resta once again came out on top, with nine points finishes to Sutil’s seven. They both retired from races four times, but when they both took the chequered flag, Di Resta finished ahead nine times to Sutil’s four.

Di Resta had the stronger first half of the season, scoring points in seven of the 10 races to Sutil’s four. However, the Scot had a series of retirements in the second half of the season, with his German team mate pipping him three points finishes to two.

Overall, Di Resta finished 19 points clear of Sutil in the drivers’ standings, but that equated to just one position difference. Di Resta finished 12th, with Sutil 13th.

Despite Di Resta beating his team mate across the season, the Scot looks likely to lose his seat at the team and could be out of Formula 1 altogether. Meanwhile, Sutil believes he will stay in Formula 1 and is understood to be talking to Sauber.

Check out the statistics below to see how Di Resta got the upper hand on Sutil this season.

Di Resta v Sutil stats compared (highest respective tally in bold)



Faster qualifying time: Di Resta 11 / Sutil 8

Poles: Di Resta 0 / Sutil 0

Front rows: Di Resta: 0 / Sutil 0
Best qualifying finish: Di Resta 5th / Sutil 6th


Wins: Di Resta 0 / Sutil 0

Podiums: Di Resta 0 / Sutil 0

Points finishes: Di Resta 9 / Sutil 7 

DNFs: Di Resta 4 / Sutil 4 

Ahead in two-car finish: Di Resta 9 / Sutil 4


Points: Di Resta 48 / Sutil 29
Championship placing: Di Resta 12th / Sutil 13th


First 10 races

Out-qualified team-mate: Di Resta 5 Sutil 5
Wins: Di Resta 0 Sutil 0
Podiums: Di Resta 0 Sutil 0
Points: Di Resta 7 Sutil 4
Retirements: Di Resta 1 Sutil 3

Final nine races

Outqualified team-mate: Di Resta 6 Sutil 3
Wins: Di Resta 0 Sutil 0
Podiums: Di Resta 0 Sutil 0
Points: Di Resta 2 Sutil 3
Retirements: Di Resta 3 Sutil 1

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Somtimes it is so easy to judge about people, like some say that Diresta is an arrogant bloke and so on. But i think that silent waters have deep bottoms. Probably not the best driver out there, but the boy had some bad luck this year. My opinion would be he deserves another shot. The case against Hamilton sr. did’nt help either i suppose.


BBC did a piece on him during the Italian GP. He seemed like a really nice bloke. The point is that some people cant be positive after three years without any meaningful result. He’s certainly a superb GT driver but didn’t amaze anyone in a single seater.


All this idle talk about drivers is pathetic, go to the isle of man TT and see what skill and bravery means, as Mark Weber said after seeing the TT that what he did was for little girls


I’ll agree on the bravery/risk taking bit. That the likes of Valentino Rossi wouldn’t do the TT as too risky suggests to me that average skill level isn’t as great as MotoGP. That almost all the TT riders are British reduces the size of the talent pool too. Mark Webber is a friend of John McGuinness, so it is not surprising he says nice things about him.


There were at least 2 or 3 races with splitted strategies. So it is luck(?) who got the better strategy and less the personal driving skill.

Which was the race were Sutil on a different strategy kinda blocked the field so DiRestas strategy worked?


Possibly Abu Dhabi is the one you are thinking of, or even India.

Tornillo Amarillo

DI RESTA came to F1 saying other drivers got it easy… (I guess he talked about Vettel and Hamilton).

But he got his opportunity to shine, and got too many errors causing DNF, etc. So it’s OK he has now a good attitude for going outside F1, maybe it will come the time soon to win and be finally happy.


Force India should keep Sutil if only for the potential end of race glassing at a party!


James do you think there was anything in Di Montezemelo listing Di Resta as a Ferrari target in the interview at Monza I think it was? Just being nice to the British media or was he rated higher before his run of crashes later in the season?

With the back problems that Kimi had at the end of the season maybe a third driver at Ferrari whilst doing some other series wouldn’t be a bad option for him?


James how would describe your interaction with Paul? Is how people describe him here unfair?


Regardless of his personality, I don’t think he’s done enough in the car to guarantee a drive in F1.

I think the general consensus is that Hulkenberg is an outstanding talent. He has the ability to transcend machinery and shine as a driver. He has won respect from the entire F1 community. And there was a serious possibility that he would not find a drive for 2014.

In the absence of personal sponsorship, or corporate fast tracking, Hulkenberg is the benchmark for securing a drive in F1 on talent alone. Paul Di Resta is fine, he’s had some good drives, but he’s generally anonymous on track.

For instance, I know JEV and van de Garde De excel in mixed conditions, I know Bianchi is inherently quick, a top driver in the making. Ricciardo is a qualifying specialist. Sutil is a robust on track racer who gives as good as he gets. But, I don’t really know anything about Di Resta. What does he excel at? What is his speciality? And that’s despite a lot of support from British TV pundits, like Coulthard and Brundle.


He can be a bit dour, sometimes he’s friendly sometimes not. But he certainly seems a “glass half empty” kind of guy


Unfair james

Do you really think paul does not deserve a seat for 2014 in F1 ?

PDR is a very fast driver and did a commendable job with Force India compared to the likes of what sutil and Perez have done with FI and Mclaren in 2013.

Just because paul is dull and not in the headlines all the time he does not deserve the 2014 drive ?


If ever there was an example of ‘two bald men fighting over a comb’ it’s these two. Sutil showed promise but never really peaked in his career and DiR complains, a lot. Neither has been really dazzling, especially when you look at a couple of the performances from drivers around them.


As others have pointed out his “personality” is less than desirable. Hardly a team player; I recall him slagging off the team in a prior race and then praising his own performance later (in changing conditions)- he called his decision to go out on slicks “inspired”. Who talks about themselves like that? He needs a behavioral coach. He could have learned a thing or two from Jenson, but I suspect he’s too impervious to such nuanced behavioral models.


I’d say Jenson ‘moans’ more than Paul, plus he didn’t have a car that went from good to bad this year like Paul did.

Still rather have a ‘moaner’ than a guy that needs his team’s marketing people to pass on the boring ‘right’ thing to say.

It’s akin to the reality TV watching nutters voting off all the interesting characters at the start of say BigBrother then finding their show gets boring.

Bottom line is Paul is the fastest and best guy left to race that car on Sundays. Paul will be the best guy to push on Hulk. Paul VS Hulk is the closest pairing for the fans who want racing in F1. It’s a no brainer if you forget about the pay-driver bringing money thing. Does Vijay the racer have the ‘love-spuds’ to sign Hulk/di Resta though?

Wonder when we’ll find out. I still think Bernie and Vijay should organise a sponsored televised shootout involving all the drivers – better than watching Christmas repeats of Only Fools and Horses on the telly. 😉


McLaren didn’t feel that way when they picked Perez last year over Hulkenberg and di Resta. Perez brings the experience from being at McLaren, which is a step up from FI and Sauber, and racing against a World Champion. So I don’t think the majority necessarily agree with you on di Resta being better than Perez based on what we’ve seen so far.

Perez then brings two significant advantages. He’s a lot lighter than Paul, which could bring immediate lap time next year and he can bring money. Whitmarsh has also described Perez as a charming person, which might be attractive to the cohesion of the team compared to Paul’s “glass half empty” (to quote others) nature.


He carries a piece of dark cloud around, it seems, even on a brightest sunny day. I think he should hire Tony Robins, who allegedly helped with the career turn-around for Andre Agassi – someone who had a load of talent but not fully realizing it before the intervention.


The second half of 2013 worked very strongly in Paul Di Restas favour when Pirellis 2012 compounds were used .He had all of 2012 racing on those whereas Sutil did not. This is a double edged sword because Suitil would be finding his feet at the time this happened.

Paul Di Resta is a tragic you only have to look at his face and realise there is never anything pleasant about to come out of it. He seems “hurt” all the time even in his first season it was the same. He seems a very negative guy and the way he always trying to talk himself up only worked against this very negative persona.


Did you really just write that…

“you only have to look at his face and realise there is never anything pleasant about to come out of it.”

Are you really Sutil’s wife, annoyed at Paul giving him a pasting throughout 2013? 😉


Read the posts just below and many others around. James A very politely puts it ” he’s a glass half empty kinda guy”… Better still listen to the guy talk at interviews and use some semblance of intellect to work it out….

Then at the end of it all -realise we are talking about 12th & 13th place !

When you you’ve come to grips with that reality you & Paul can blow whom ever you chose in or out of the park.


I think this reinforces the reality for a young driver to keep his seat in F1 today: You either have to show real signs of being a superstar in the making (i.e. start out like Vettel/Alonso/Hamilton) OR be decently fast and bring signficant sponsorhip $$. I think Paul has had enough time to establish if he fits into the first category (which he does not, IMO).


The only people rating Di Resta as good or more are the British media or when they interview a non-British someone and the poor guy has to say Di Resta is good out of politeness. I remember the BBC hailing him in as the new messiah in 2010 and always interviewing him and upping his very average races. Was embarrassing to watch.

Only reason he got a seat for 3 years with Force India is because of the Mercedes engines he was backed by. Some sources saying Force India got a huge discount on the engines, a few sources even claiming Force India paid nothing for the engines. A pay driver.

Adrian Newey Jnr

Thanks for this analysis.

Whilst PdR seems to have decent speed, there appears to be something to his performance that the Tier-1 teams don’t want. PdR is never in the picture for the 2nd McLaren, Lotus, Ferrari or RB cars. He would probably make a good 2nd driver (ala Irvine etc). This leads me to believe there is more to this discussion that pure lap times and podiums. Something we don’t see on the cameras. Perhaps he is difficult to work with or doesn’t have the feedback skills that teams are looking for. Most of all, he is probably lacking the deep pockets of over rivals.

I would love to hear what James thinks about the true reason why none of the Tier-1 teams are interested in him.


Well if the first Google search numbers on di Resta are correct, 1.85 m and 78 kg won’t help his appeal to the other teams with the new weight regulations and the heavy engines.

The top teams will generally want to see top line one lap pace – one of the attractions of Ricciardo – and Hulkenberg is perceived as having an edge there, so by nature that puts di Resta at a disadvantage. Being able to look after the tyres is good in the current era, but Pirelli is looking to move away from that. Also, last year when the track was wet Hulkenberg shined, so part of that is relative to his team mate, and that marks di Resta down a little too in one of the key talent identifiers.


PDR is so boring he called the Samaritans and even they hung up!!


We need a better set of objective stats to measure performance of a driver other than wins/ poles / fast laps, etc.

Other sports you can go to the boxscore and determine who the best performers are. We need that in F1. I have no idea how to do it, but cars would need to be ranked on performance and reliability. Drivers achieving results in weaker cars will be ranked higher than those achieving similar results in stronger cars. Driver errors resulting in accidents or penalties would need be tracked. Mechanical failures would impact a cars rating, but not a drivers rating. Pit crew performance would need to be tracked.

Not a mathmetician, but you would think that someone could develop a framework which was objective an leveled the playing field. At least then the debate would be about measurable results as opposed to excuses and explainations.


Di Resta is no real loss to F1. His mistakes in Italy, Singapore and Korea were amateurish. Not to mention his whinging everytime things don’t go his way. He is never going to be a leader, a motivator, and most importantly, he is never going to be a world champion. He is consistent and gets decent points every now and again but he was destroyed by Hulkenberg in 2012 which was enough evidence for me.

Sutil meanwhile is just not good enough. Money may be his saving grace for 2014 but he sure ain’t on the grid based on talent. Made Di Resta look better than he actually is by being quite terrible.

Neither driver is up to the standard required frankly. Just my opinion of course.

DiResta – 6/10

Sutil – 5/10


“Di Resta is no real loss to F1. His mistakes in Italy, Singapore and Korea were amateurish” – makes no sense

How you can say he is not a world champion material ? he has beaten vettel (So called 4 WDC) in the junior categories. Paul has the skillset to be in F1.

What motivator or team leader you talk about in Force India ? You got this totally wrong. this is not a top team where you need one driver to take up the initative. It’s all points scored that matters and count among the mid field teams. Paul have no need at this stage to reflect that he is a team leader

Paul has rightly crticized force india in 2013 they made too many operational errors and wrong strategy calls. Force India have failed to improve the car as well when 2013 season progressed and ended up the season with poor car

Finally all drivers have made some mistakes in certain races when you look at their careers. This includes sharp end of the grid and the tail end as well.


How did Sutil manage to keep his sponsors after his legal troubles?


They looked at the facts:

1) Sutil’s perception prior to the incident was that almost of a milquetoast…a bit too metrosexual actually. Certainly not the guy to start trouble.

2) He had been with the team for a long time and was well liked.

3) The German laws he was convicted under make NO leeway for not being the one to start it – if you harm someone, it’s a conviction, even if accidental or in self-defence

4) A lot of the testimony against him was from Chinese “witnesses” who only testified in China, in writing. Very easy to, er, compensate for their testimony.

So given all of that, his sponsors stayed, and VJ gave him his ride back to see if he could prove himself again. The next few weeks will probably tell us if he did enough to keep it – I am not so sure, but I am VERY happy he had a chance to try on the track, rather than in a slanted court battle with one of the world’s wealthiest men.


Having said that, you can’t injure someone by jabbing them with a Capri-Sun.




I donno, the straw has a sharp end as well as a blunt end. I bet Jason Bourne could take out an army with a capri-sun…


Sutil is a perfect example of the nice guy finishing last. The results speak for themselves, yet it is Sutil who is more on the radar between the two. Paul is a quiet fellow who gets on with it, which is a disadvantage in F1 by the looks of it. You have to have a bit of mongrel in you for people to take notice, or at least smash someone over the head with a bottle and have a hot girlfriend in the pits during the race.


Sorry, by the nice guy I meant Di Resta.


Sorry to intrude James, but here is some interesting data (at least to me)

It is the percentage of points earned by the top driver from each team, listed from smallest to largest differences

1. Mercedes/HAM 52.5%

2. Lotus/RAI 58.1 (61.6)*

3. McLaren/BUT 59.8

4. Toro Rosso/RIC 60.6

5. Force India/DIR 62.3

6. Red Bull/VAT 66.6

7. Ferrari/ALO 68.4

8. Williams/BOT 80.0

9. Sauber/HUL 89.5

10. Marussia/BIA 0.32**

11. Caterham/PIC 1.06**

* Percentage if we take out GRO’s points where RAI did not race

** Difference in average place since there are no points for 2 bottom teams. BIA is too close to CHI because of 3 DNFs to none

We can see that in spite of those that argue that HAM “trounced” ROS, they were as close as can be.

I guess an acceptable percentage would be around 60, where GRO, PER, VER, and SUT were more or less close to their mates

BOT beat MAL on a single points result each so is a bit biased, but GUT was “trounced” by HUL

It also shows #2 drivers WEB and MAS were way off their partners

I miss @goferet’s post so I came up with this one


I like the idea behind the maths!


Since the points awarded from 1st to 10th are not proportionate or linear, wouldn’t this create a slightly distorted result, when comparing Red Bull Drivers to, lets say Force India or McLaren drivers? (top team scoring top points vs. mid-field)

Would it work better if their comparison scores were converted to 1st=10pts, 2nd=9pts… all the way to 10th=1pt?


Really nice piece of maths….very much appreciated.


Could you do such a head-to-head comparison of Ferrari teammates Alo-Mas from 2010-2013, and RBR Vet-Web 2009-2013??


Good stuff — Would think that Dario would be providing his relative with some coaching on the presentation format. Wasn’t aware of any tempremental Maldanado-style off-track rants were in vogue.

There was a comment a few days back regarding an imminent Kimi/Grosjean comparison — Has that aired yet?


If I’m not mistaken PDi had a less than amicable break-up with Anthony Hamilton as his manager and joined the same stable as Jenson B, certain to be a distraction from track activity, but either way he should have been receiving coaching on his performance with the media, especially TV – perhaps it came too late, because his negativity towards aspects of the team (at least that is how it appeared) no doubt caused issues within, his inability to understand the political nuances have no doubt cost him dear. He’s going to have to be a great deal more savvy if he moves to Indy. I don’t see him driving anywhere in F1 next year which is a shame when you look at his ability to finish well against some top cars and then you have the likes of Pastor M. Not good for the sport with the financial imbalance almost forcing the teams further down the grid to look at pay drivers in stead of talent first (although Gary Anderson did an interesting item on budget management).


Thanks for this insight – helps me realise overall Paul was better than Sutil, which I hadn’t realised. Makes it a shame Paul probably won’t get an F1 seat next year.


Do you recall comparing them, or did you not really notice them? The reason I ask is that the figures can hide anomalies. Bahrain is one race where Sutil’s race pace was apparently better than di Resta’s according to Autosport, just that a puncture on lap one got in the way. 12 of the 19 point difference is right there.

In some races the cars were on quite different set ups trying to get the tyres to work. Sutil generally went more aggressive, being further up the grid in those races.

If you were playing team manager, you might go with your feelings rather than the score board. Sutil’s done six years in F1 now, plus his year off, so if your going to promote him on talent, you might have done so by now. If di Resta didn’t make you feel any different – not much better than someone you’ve passed over – why continue with him if he doesn’t bring money.


I did not follow this particular pairing closely l have to say, so l am a bit surprised to see how much better DiR did over AS. l think my perception up to now, could be due to a more positive coverage of Sutil by many in the medias.

I don’t particularly rate Di Resta all that much, maybe a bit more now, yet if 1 of the 2 should remain in F1, it should be him. Marc

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