Mallya names Sutil as 2013 driver option
29 October 2012 – Vijay Mallya admits that Adrian Sutil could rejoin Force India for the 2013 F1 season. For this year, the German was replaced alongside Paul di Resta by compatriot Nico Hülkenberg, although the latter is muted by some to be switching to Sauber.
Over recent weeks, Hülkenberg-to-Sauber talk has built in the paddock, as this could aid a future Ferrari move for the 2009 GP2 Champion. However, in India at the weekend, fresh thoughts coming out of the team were that the driver line-up will remain the same next year. In reality, the balance could swing either way.
“I offered an extension to both drivers,” Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director, confirmed to Reuters. “I hear from the media that Nico has signed with Sauber…well, if he has, then good luck to him. I have not been officially notified by Nico of anything; he hasn't sat down with me and told me that. I would expect that he would if he was on his way. I have an excellent relationship with him; he's a wonderful guy and he's done well for us, but I won’t stand in his way.”
Sutil’s Force India exit followed a scandal in 2011 after he injured Eric Lux (head of Genii Capital, owner of the Lotus team) with a broken glass in a Shanghai night club. With this now in the past, Mallya is not shy in admitting that Sutil – who has visited Force India in the paddock several times this year – could return:
“Never forget I always have the potential of considering Sutil again. Sutil is always quick. So there are many options. I would certainly consider him.”
Other candidates for a 2013 Force India race seat include reserve driver Jules Bianchi and Jaime Alguersuari who, like Sutil, has been on the sidelines this year.