Adrian Sutil: A Man Worthy of a Decent Drive for 2012

Adam Flinn@@F1AdamCorrespondent INovember 15, 2011

Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil. Together again for 2012?
Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil. Together again for 2012?Clive Rose/Getty Images

It is a rare occurrence that Eddie Jordan manages to ask a useful question as part of his punditry role for the BBC. Yet during the Abu Dhabi qualifying show, he came up with a corker for Paul di Resta: "Who is your teammate for next year?"

Simple, yet clever. Paul falls for the trap and replies: "That's not for me to decide," and what it would suggest is Di Resta has been given a race seat for 2012, while the second Force India remains up for grabs.

Fair enough, Paul has had a good season. He's been on fairly level terms to his teammate all year, and is definitely worthy of another season. But what about that teammate? Should he get another year?

Adrian Sutil certainly hasn't had a bad year. 34 points is quite respectable considering the best Force India can usually hope for is eighth, ninth or 10th, and a good result in Brazil could make him the highest placed midfield runner in the standings.

Despite this, it seems like he is being nudged out of his seat. Former pole-sitter Nico Hulkenberg has been waiting patiently all season for a chance to race in 2012, and is another driver who deserves a second chance.

It's not the worst problem to be facing Force India, but it is giving them something to think about. It could be suspected that Vijay Mallya's delay in announcing a lineup means they do not know what to do.

Fortunately for Vijay, I am here to advise.

My feeling is Force India should stick with what they have. Adrian has been with the team for five years, and both have come a long way in terms of results.

Hulkenberg is undoubtedly a quick driver, but that pole position glorifies what was a pretty average debut season. But I don't think Nico could do better than Adrian in a race seat, especially with a year out.

Sutil is a consistent performer, and I believe he can get the eighth place necessary to overhaul Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov in the championship. Any points at Brazil would give him a scoring strike rate of just under 50 percent since the start of 2010, which is quite impressive for a midfield runner.

If Force India do decide against him, then Williams would be the only other viable option. Kimi Raikkonen could ruin that opportunity, though.

It would be a shame if Sutil was left without a drive for 2012, but it is looking a bit precarious for him.

However, maybe a year off and a new team would give him a fresh start. With his current situation, he could be in danger of becoming the next Heidfeld. Loyal to a team, decent results, yet nothing special.

I'm beginning to understand your predicament Mr. Mallya.