F1 Driver Review: Adrian Sutil


After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship season, my colleague Chris Estrada and I are taking a look back on how each of the 23 Formula One drivers who took to the grid fared this past year.

Finishing 13th this season after a season away from the F1 paddock was Adrian Sutil…


No. 15 Force India-Mercedes
2013 Stats: 13th Place, 0 Wins, 0 Podiums, 1 Top-5, 8 Top-10s, 11 Laps Led
Average Start: 12.7
Average Finish: 13.4
DNFs: 4

DiZinno says: It was a mixed bag for Sutil in his return to Formula One after a one-year hiatus. Led on his return in Australia and put in a terrific drive at Monaco to take fifth. The highlights were few and far between in the second half as the Force India struggled for balance after the Pirelli tire change, but still, Sutil bagged points in four of the last nine races and that was nothing to scoff at. Perhaps he’s this current generation’s Nick Heidfeld in relation to Michael Schumacher – dependable, under-the-radar, and a consistent points scorer – but not an otherworldly driver like his countryman, in this case, Sebastian Vettel. You’d have to expect more of the same with Sauber in 2014, perhaps with a slightly higher ceiling.

Estrada says: Sutil seems to be Formula One’s equivalent to a point guard with the mid-range jumper that will earn him a steady paycheck but not the other stuff required to become a superstar. The German can get on point-scoring streaks but as Tony alludes to, he’s going to rarely set the track on fire. He could’ve done without Esteban Gutierrez hitting him in China as well as the wheel nut issues in Malaysia and Spain, but Sutil still earned three consecutive Top-10s at Monaco (fifth), Montreal (10th) and Silverstone (seventh) during the first half. Past the mid-point of the year, things got dicey for Force India; however, Sutil persevered and did his part to keep the squad at sixth place among the constructors.

Kyle Busch interests McLaren for Indy 500, but team is leaning toward experience

McLaren Indy Kyle Busch
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With Arrow McLaren SP heavily weighing a fourth car for the Indy 500 next year, Kyle Busch is a candidate but not at the top of the IndyCar team’s list.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown addressed the possibility Wednesday morning during a video news conference with Gavin Ward, the team’s newly named racing director.

“I have not personally spoken with Kyle Busch, but you can read into that that someone else in our organization has,” Brown said. “We want to make sure if we run a fourth car, we’re in the mindset that we want someone that is experienced around the 500. It’s such an important race, and from a going for the championship point of view, we’ve got three drivers that we want to have finish as strong as possible, so if we ran a fourth car, we’d want to be additive, not only for the fourth car itself, but to the three cars and so bringing in someone who’s not done it before potentially doesn’t add that value from an experience point of view.”

Busch will race the No. 8 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing next season in NASCAR under a new deal that will allow the two-time Cup Series champion to make his Indy 500 debut. Busch, who had a previous deal to run the Indy 500 nixed by Joe Gibbs Racing, openly courted Chevy IndyCar teams to contact him during his introductory news conference with RCR last month.

After Team Penske (which has given no indications of a fourth car at Indy alongside champion Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin), McLaren is the second-best Chevy organization, and it’s fielded an extra Indy 500 car the past two years for Juan Pablo Montoya. The Associated Press reported last month that McLaren was in “serious conversation” about running Busch at Indy with Menards sponsorship.

But with its restructured management, the team is in the midst of significant expansion for 2023. AMSP is adding a third full-time car for 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi to team with Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist, and a massive new shop also is being built in the Indianapolis area.

“(It’s) not because of him but purely because of experience,” Brown said of Busch. “He’s an awesome talent and would be huge, huge news for the speedway. But yeah, I think everyone is under consideration if we decide to do it, but experience is right at the top of the list as far as what’s going to be the most important to us.”

And it seems likely there will be a veteran joining Rossi, O’Ward and Rosenqvist at the Brickyard.

“A fourth car at the 500 is very much under consideration,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t even want to get ahead of ourselves, but we wouldn’t be ruling out a fourth car in the future on a full-time basis. That definitely wouldn’t be for ’23. But as we expand the team and get into larger facilities and things of that nature, it’s something that Gavin and I have spoken about.

“I think we would be in a position to run a fourth car at the 500 this upcoming year. If we do decide to do that, we’ll make that decision soon for maximum preparation, and I would say we’re open minded to a fourth car in ’24 and beyond and probably will make that decision middle of next year in time to be prepared if we did decide to do that.”

Brown also addressed the future of Alex Palou, who will be racing for Chip Ganassi Racing next season after also signing a deal with McLaren. Though Brown declined to get into specifics about whether Palou had signed a new deal, he confirmed Palou will continue to test “our Formula One car from time to time.

“Everyone has reached an amicable solution,” Brown said. “We’ve now had Alex in our Formula One car as we have Pato. That will continue in the future, which we’re quite excited about. At this point we’re laser-focused on 2023 and glad to have the noise behind us and now just want to put our head down and get on with the job with the three drivers we have.”