Adrian Sutil says Force India’s 2013 car is the best he’s had during his F1 career.
“I think so, yes,” said Sutil when asked if the VJM06 was better than the other F1 cars he has driven.
“Wherever we have gone so far the car has looked competitive – and that includes some very different tracks. It’s a good sign for the rest of the season.”
“Of course, Monaco will be the first real street circuit, but I think we will be quick there. The car is very strong in the front with a very neutral balance so it’s very drivable.”
Sutil has spent his entire grand prix career with the same team. He joined them in 2007, when they were called Spyker, before they were bought by Vijay Mallya and renamed Force India.
Sutil managed a best position of ninth in the 2001 championship before being dropped by the team and replaced by Nico Hulkenberg. But he returned to them this year and led on his comeback in Australia, eventually finishing seventh.
However he is yet to add to that points tally following a string of misfortunes. “Despite everything that has happened during the last four races, I remain positive,” he said.
“Most of the things that happened were out of my control, but still I believe we can improve certain things to avoid mistakes in the future.
“We as a team have to stay confident and work on solving these small problems. The car is fast and if we have a perfect weekend, which is our aim all the time, I’m sure the podium will come soon.”
Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.
Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.
Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.
“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.
“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”
Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.
“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.
“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”