2012 was a year of missed opportunities for Force India. They went into the season with high expectations, but didn’t deliver on them initially. This meant they had to rely on development superiority and luck to rack up the points.
The car steadily improved over the season and Hulkenberg’s results from the Belgian Grand Prix onwards are a testament to this improvement. But they were unlucky to miss out on podiums that were possible in Belgium, Singapore and Brazil.
This year, the team has been mired in controversy over their driver lineup. The team was quick to confirm Paul di Resta for a third year in the team, but waited to confirm their third driver until the start of the final preseason test.
The choice to revert back to the 2011 lineup of Paul di Rresta and Adrian Sutil has proven potent in testing, as the latter seems to have lost none of his speed and consistency.
Paul di Rasta:
He lived in the shadow of his 2012 teammate last year, as he failed to put in the brilliant controlled performances that Hulkenberg seemed to do without a struggle. This was exemplified brilliantly in Brazil when the Scotsman crashed on the final lap of the race after making little progress, while Hulkenberg lead 30 laps on merit and nearly won the race.
Paul will be looking to put this disappointment behind him in 2013 as he attempts to cement his place in Formula One. He was firmly in the discussions for a top drive in 2013, but seemed to miss out as midfield members Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg got new opportunities at better teams.
This season, Paul needs to show the top teams that he is not destined for a career stuck in the midfield. This will prove nigh on impossible as the midfield fight promises to be even tighter than last year. Paul will also hope to beat Adrian Sutil, something he didn’t manage to do in his rookie year in 2011.
All the signs are pointing to another year of solid midfield performances, as Force India has proven reliable and consistent, if not very spectacular. It is up to Paul to direct his career in the direction he wants it to go.
The third Formula One comeback in four years for a driver sees Adrian Sutil return to action with Force India. His reputation is untainted in the face of hid assault charges from 2011. Many argue that this was a determining factor in the team’s decision to drop him for 2012.
This is not to say that his talent wasn’t up to par for Force India. He scored consistently throughout 2011 to ensure that the team achieved their best placing in the Constructor’s table.
Sutil’s criminal record acquired in 2011 could pose some VISA challenges. Passage into China, U.S.A., and other countries could prove difficult with this mark on his record. Hopefully his past actions don’t affect his participation in the championship.
Regardless of this, there is no denying that the year spent on the sidelines in 2012 has had no visible affect on Sutil’s skills, determination and hunger. He could pose more of a threat to di Resta than many expect, and if the car is good, expect some excellent results from the German.