Force India's progress in Formula 1 is being held back by the lack of a 'super-brain' within the team, contends Adrian Sutil – who has for the first time hinted that he may be considering other options for the 2010 campaign.
Though still largely rooted to the lower echelons of the starting grid, Force India has made some advances in 2009 to-date, most notably with Sutil running up in an excellent and entirely unheralded sixth position – ahead of defending F1 World Champion and former F3 Euroseries team-mate Lewis Hamilton – in the rain-lashed Chinese Grand Prix before heartbreakingly aquaplaning off the track and into retirement against the Shanghai International Circuit's unforgiving barriers with just six laps remaining.
Moreover, the young German and experienced grand prix-winning team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella both made it through to Q2 in qualifying for the first time in the Silverstone-based squad's short history in the top flight in Monaco last time out, with the Italian going on to take the chequered flag barely a second away from the final points-paying position at the end of a doggedly determined drive.
Despite those flashes of promise, however, Sutil claims that far more is necessary for the Vijay Mallya-run operation to move up a further level still, and despite having begun every one of his 41 races in the top flight with the team – including in its previous guise of Spyker in 2007 – the 26-year-old has confessed that he is not limiting his future options purely to Force India.
Sutil's contract is due to expire at the end of this season, and he has suggested that in order to keep hold of his services, further significant gains may be necessary – and he argued that a comparative lack of funds may not be the root cause of the problem.
“I don't think it's just the money,” the man from Starnberg told German magazine Auto Motor und Sport
. “It is the whole package. Perhaps we are just missing a 'super brain', like what Red Bull has in Adrian Newey.
“[Being with a leading team] is every driver's goal, and also mine. Really I just want to win – with which team is for me not a topic. Force India has made progress, and we will have to see how it looks for the coming years.
“At the moment this is where I am. The contract runs out at the end of the year, and then we will see.”
Sutil and Fisichella are likely to receive a boost in the near future, with the Mercedes-powered VJM02 set to benefit from the Stuttgart manufacturer's highly-regarded KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) technology for the first time – but due to his height, the former is unsure as to just how much the energy-saving device will actually help him.
“I think KERS is a good thing if it works,” he argued, “but for the moment it's not really working for anybody.”