Force India: Adrian Sutil Not Getting a Rest This Year

Antony Herbert@LeeUwishWritingAnalyst IIIMarch 27, 2011

JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 10:  Adrian Sutil of Germany and Paul di Resta of Great britain and Force India pose for photographs during day one of winter testing at the Circuito de Jerez on February 10, 2011 in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

One of the main motivators for a driver is the competition between himself and his teammate. Put two drivers together of equal standing and you create an environment where the team can benefit from an individual's desire to outdo their counterpart.

Sometimes this may go awry, such as Mark Webber and Sebastien Vettel's coming together last season.

At other times it can get nasty, seen with Fernando Alonso's controversial pit lane infringement at McLaren and the consequential breakdown in relationship with Lewis Hamilton and the team.

Yet at other times it can spur a driver on to greater things. Look at what happened with Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld with their spell at BMW. The two were level pegging for quite some time with neither taking the edge, despite both being well regarded.

In the end an initiative had to be found and it was Kubica who burst through, not only within his team but within the entire grid. He became a potential champion and race winner as opposed to his previous stature as an also-ran. 

But what happens if your teammate does not shower you with competitiveness. Do you succeed to the same degree if your teammate is gifting you an ease of access to being the team's spearhead?

Some drivers are able to destroy the competition if that competition is at best average. Nelson Piquet Jr, for example, was never going to define himself positively against Fernando Alonso. He never had it in him to do so and he was overwhelmed in a team that required more talent.

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Alonso as a result looked even more invincible. In a straight duel between the two he wouldn't be required to reach anywhere near 100 percent capacity to triumph.

What you don't want to do, though, is to become complacent in such a situation. You do not want to lose the desire to progress and gain yourself a greater reputation. Whilst not doubting the ambition to succeed in a driver we see time and time again racers who you feel could be performing better if they were made to.

In the last couple of years at Force India Adrian Sutil has had a comfortable No. 1 position within the team. He began his time in the sport in style with total domination over his multiple team mates at Spyker. They may have failed to venture past the back of the field, but Sutil was never the joker in the pack. 

We knew from an early stage that he had some talent within. Aside from his sporadic clumsy errors, he proved consistent and looked to portray the emergence of a prominent Force India team. 

He was partly undone by Giancarlo Fisichella achieving the accolades he deserved more and was expected to achieve. Fisi got the first pole position and podium for Vijay Mallya's team in Spa 2009.

Yet then the Italian thought he was too good for the team and drifted off to a lacklustre finale to his career at Ferarri.

As karma would have it, Sutil would gain his highest qualifying and finishing position at the following race at Monza. It was a welcome result for someone who'd come so close to a fourth-placed finish in Monaco the previous season. 

Last year Sutil was rarely challenged by teammate Vitantonio Liuzzi. Until the last few Grand Prix, Sutil was on target to gain his first top 10 finish in the drivers championship. His car tailed off sadly towards the end and he finished the season 11th. In doing so however he gained the majority of his team's points. 

At times the trouble is, especially with the climax to last season, that Sutil had a tendency to turn up to Grand Prix weekends with less to offer. Mid running finishes would outdo the work Sutil had done to acquire specific praise for his quality overtaking and pace. 

Another season with a teammate incapable of challenging could have set Sutil into further times of optimistic promise that then just don't reach our expectations.

Thankfully Liuzzi lost his drive and shipped himself off to the doldrums of Hispania Racing. Some have called this career suicide, but arguably he never had that much of a career to begin with, so not much of a loss. 

To Force India in came Paul Di Resta, the Scottish wonder kid hot off the heels of a German Touring Cars title. As a rookie critics will expect more from someone who defeated current world champion Sebastien Vettel in Formula 3 before the German's emergence into the Formula 1.

Many are surprised Di Resta didn't join the grid sooner. In Race 1 he proved an able match for Adrian Sutil. Both were similarly matched on pace with frequent changes of position between the two throughout the Australian Grand Prix.

At least one of these switches was orchestrated by the team themselves but a 12th placed finish in his debut Grand Prix was a confident start.

Post race this was elevated to a debut points finish due to the disqualification of both Sauber drivers. 

And for Sutil this now means he has a fight on his hands to keep a stranglehold on his number one position within the team. The pressure is on him to push forwards in order to thrust himself further up the field and to at last claim a top 10 championship finish that you feel he justly deserves and is overdue. 

How demoralising would it be if Paul Di Resta instead achieved that accolade first, in much the same respect that Fisichella claimed the team's first podium a couple of years before.

Sutil will have his years of team dominance at Spyker and Force India to inspire him forwards. We expect him to do well.

And now he has the added incentive of defeating a new teammate with the able talents to succeed also. 

As teammates they could become the next Heidfeld and Kubica and push Force India higher than their sixth placed finish from 2010.

It is the way that Adrian Sutil's career can then move up a gear and slot him into a position where he can continue to make a name for himself. He may subsequently find a more competitive drive in future seasons. Failure to do so could leave him instead stuck in the middle of the field.