After taking over from Spyker in 2008, Force India held onto emerging talent Adrian Sutil. After the exit of Fisichella they accompanied the German Vitantonio Liuzzi this year.
Liuzzi is by no means a proven racer. As of yet he has given us two mediocre seasons with Toro Rosso, with an additional batch of races at Red Bull (2005) and last year with Force India. Accumatively he has scored just seven points from forty-five races.
It’s easy therefore to be harsh and negative about him. Alongside the likes of Sebastian Bourdais he was always going to go unnoticed when other youthful drivers such as Sebastien Vettel were creating miracles around them. Consequentially they were clearly and evidently regarded as the weakest link.
What Liuzzi portrayed in Bahrain though was a positive improvement of his previous form. It will hopefully be one that he can gradually enhance as the season progresses. If he can do this then he will undo much of the lack of credulation that he currently enlists to his name.
Adrian Sutil on the other hand has on various occasions caught the eye of spectators and critics. Statistically he has fared poorer than his new team mate. Six points from fifty-three Grand Prix does not sound a healthy amount.
We all remember however the fourth place Sutil should have claimed in the Monaco Grand Prix of 2008. On that day his achievement was scuppered by a wreckless Ferrari, when Kimi Raikkonen ran into the back of a helpless Sutil.
We also all felt the heartache when Sutil had to watch his seemingly slower team mate Fisichella claim Force India’s first podium finish in Belgium.
Adrian was definately more deserving of that accomplishment.
His response was a fourth place finish in the follow up Italian Grand Prix, though sadly it was always going to pale in comparison.
What you have in Sutil is a capable and quick driver. If anyone can elevate Force India to fifth it will be him.
Yet for all his good intentions and determined pace, what he can bring to the team can all so quickly be taken away just as readily.
Sutil is prone to making mistakes after all. It’s not just the odd occasional slip in performance; there have multiple occasions.
Already this season this has been highlighted with a first corner spin in Bahrain. This event cost him a probable points finish, for which his team were saved by Liuzzi getting into the top ten instead.
Adrian therefore holds a greater risk for the team in their challenge to be the best of the rest. If he cannot curtail his clumsy but costly errors then he may prove more of a detriment to the team than any abundance of average performance that Liuzzi may alternatively portray.