Force India – FINALLY
Ask the ‘Children of Israel’ who followed Moses what it’s like to miss the boat. 40 years of wandering in the wilderness allegedly – one of the official ‘longest waits’ in history. Well I feel as though I’ve aged 40 yeaqrs whilst writing and speculating about what the hell is going on at Force India – and I think there’s more to come yet.
So finally, Force India formally confirm what a number of us knew yesterday morning. A statement published on their website says,
“Sahara Force India is pleased to announce that Adrian Sutil will complete its driver line-up for the 2013 season. The 2013 campaign will be Adrian’s fifth racing season in the colours of Sahara Force India and his sixth year of Formula One competition. Adrian will test for the team this week in Barcelona, driving on Friday and Saturday. Paul Di Resta will be back in the car on Sunday.”
Even the press briefing sheet handed out in Barcelona this morning did not have this information. I think Force India could do with the services of ‘the horse whisperer’ in a big way. He could become ‘the elephant trumpeter’ I guess.
The Sahara Force India release continues with the venerable “Dr Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director:” – you can imagine him drawing himself up to his full height whilst penning his title and multiple roles, just in case we all don’t know.
Just before we lean forward to hear Vijay speak, remember that tens of millions of bits of data are transmitted from the car each lap to the pits and analysed in an instant. However, the reason for the quite remarkable delay Vijay explains as follows.
“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. 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, and I’m hopeful we can continue working with him this year to help him develop into a future Grand Prix driver.”
Frank Lee Morris sorry, Adrian Sutil is clearly exuberant about his ‘second’ or ‘third’ coming… “I’m delighted to be back in Formula One, especially with a team I know so well. 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 One. 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 session this week, working with the team in the simulator and getting myself in the best possible shape for Melbourne.”
Bianchi’s manager Nicolas Todt told Reuters yesterday: “It’s a big disappointment. I am a very realistic person but I was very hopeful he would get this drive.”
Ecclestone’s Indian connections
TJ13 has probably covered the Force India story more than anyone in the closed season. For some time we had no announcement of Paul getting a second year and Formula1.com (owned by FOM/BE) for weeks refused to display either Force India drivers with their names and pictures as confirmed.
There were rumours around the Autosport event in January that Mr. E was interested in Force India. He apparently attempted to buy Brawn GP but Daimler-Benz pipped him to the post. We also have heard more than once or twice the Bernie is most keen on having an Indian driver on the grid. He made comments to this effect during the weekend of the Indian GP – on several occasions – it was almost a polemic.
It is interesting that Luiz Razia is again absent from the Marussia team today. It may be his sponsors have not indicated any good faith payment to the team and John and Graeme are not playing ball till they see some green backs. The provisional team driver schedule sheet I saw last night had Razia listed as driving today. Mmm.
Some are speculating should Razia’s Brazlilian backers fail to find their hidden stash, this could open the way for a return for Senna to Marussia or indeed Petrov ahead of the inaugural GP in Sochi 2014. However, my money would be on Narain if Bernie’s got his fingers in any pies at present.