With the signing of Adrian Sutil to Sahara Force India’s open race seat alongside Paul di Resta and Jules Bianchi’s recent naming to the second race slot with Marussia F1, the final driver line-up for the 2013 Formula One season is now set.
Sutil, the 30-year-old German who drove for Force India from 2007 to 2011, lost his seat for 2012 to Nico Hulkenberg. With Hulkenberg’s departure to Sauber for 2013, several drivers contended for the team’s open seat. In the end, “Adrian’s experience and historic links to the team gave him the edge,” Force India team principal Vijay Mallya told Formula1.com.
“I’m delighted to be back in Formula One, especially with a team I know so well,” said Sutil to Formula1.com. “I’m very happy and I want to thank Sahara Force India for giving me a second chance. Having been away from the sport, I’m even more determined to achieve my goals in Formula One.”
One driver frequently mentioned as a favorite to secure the Force India drive before Sutil got the nod was 23-year-old Frenchman Jules Bianchi, the team’s reserve driver in 2012 who impressed in the first two F1 test sessions in Jerez and Barcelona last month. In a turn of good fortune after losing out to Sutil, Bianchi was signed to Marussia’s newly opened race seat after the team terminated rookie driver Luis Razia’s 2013 race contract after the Brazilian’s sponsorship deal collapsed.
Bianchi told Formula1.com that “Racing in Formula One this season has been my goal over the winter and after evaluating a number of options, I am very excited to have this opportunity to demonstrate that I am ready for this next step in my racing career.” He will team with fellow rookie F1 driver Max Chilton.