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Adrian Sutil has been confirmed as a Force India driver for the upcoming Formula 1 campaign, with the Silverstone-based outfit announcing his comeback at the final pre-season test in Barcelona. The German reunites with Paul di Resta and will make his first race start since the 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix later this month.
Sutil, whose Formula 1 debut came under the Spyker guise back in 2007, beat Jules Bianchi to the vacancy. He returns after being replaced by Nico Hülkenberg at the end of 2011, the year in which he was charged with grievous bodily harm for attacking Genii Capital's Eric Lux with a champagne glass in a Shanghai nightclub. Speaking of his new deal, Sutil says he is overjoyed to be given 'a second chance' by the team.
"I’m delighted to be back in Formula 1, especially with a team I know so well," explained Sutil, who turned 30 last month. "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 1.
"Things went really well at the Barcelona test last week and it almost feels as though I’ve never been away. Driving the car felt so natural and I was able to get back in the groove quickly and find the limit. Now my focus is on making the most of the final test this week, working with the team in the simulator and getting myself in the best possible shape for Melbourne."
Force India's Team Principal, Dr. Vijay Mallya, added that the choice between Sutil and Bianchi was far from straightforward. Having given the decision 'great consideration', the 57-year-old businessman said Sutil's experience and knowledge of the team played in his favour, but he is determined to continue working with Bianchi in 2013.
"The decision over our driver line-up has not been an easy one and we have given it great consideration over the last few months," said Mallya. "It was a close call, but ultimately we felt that Adrian’s experience and historic links to the team gave him the edge, and will provide us with the best possible chance of realising our ambitions for the coming season.
"If he can rediscover the exceptional form he showed in the second half of 2011, I’m confident that we can pick up where we left off at the end of 2012. As for Jules Bianchi, he has impressed us enormously with his speed and work ethic. I’m hopeful we can continue working with him this year to help him develop into a future Grand Prix driver."
During their sole season as team-mates in 2011, Sutil outscored di Resta by 42 points to 27, with the pair guiding Force India to sixth in the Constructors' standings.
Paul di Resta
Force India F1
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