Adrian Sutil might be heading into his home race this weekend at the Nürburgring, but the Force India F1 star has not had the most successful of build-ups to the 2011 German Grand Prix after crashing a Gumpert Apollo around the fearsome Nordschleife.
Sutil was behind the wheel of the car earlier this week as he endeavoured to lower the previous lap time of seven minutes and eleven seconds set two years ago with the Gumpert Apollo Speed around the Nordschleife's perilous 14-mile layout, but a disagreement with the barriers shortly after leaving the pit-lane swiftly brought a premature end to his bid.
Happily, the German himself was not injured in the impact – although the same could not be said for the Gumpert's carbon-fibre bodywork – and he is now hoping to make amends around the 'new' Nürburgring.
“The Nürburgring is a great place to go racing,” the 28-year-old enthused. “It's my home grand prix, and the atmosphere is always very special there. Plus, there's a lot of history associated with the place. When I go back there it reminds me of my early racing days, when I was just starting out in cars and driving in Formula BMW and F3. I've spent a lot of time there, and I know the circuit very well. Since I've been in F1, I've raced there twice.
“The track is challenging because there is such a variety of corners – high, medium and low-speed – so you really need a car that is well-balanced for every kind of corner, which isn't easy. The first sector is technical, while the second sector has a good flow to it and the final part has the big straight. It's a smooth circuit with not too many bumps, but you have to be careful with the kerbs at the NGK chicane because they are really high and you can't really use them. That means we can run a stiffer set-up with the car.”
Rookie team-mate Paul di Resta – who has largely outshone Sutil at Force India this year – will be racing on the full circuit for the first time having twice finished as runner-up around the shorter version in the DTM, but off the back of an impressive if ultimately frustrating outing on home turf at Silverstone just under a fortnight ago, the Scot is in 'positive' spirits arriving in Germany.
“Although I've been to the Nürburgring a few times, I've never raced on the full grand prix track,” the 25-year-old confessed. “It was always the shortened version used for the DTM races, so I only know parts of the track. During my visits there, I've learned that the weather can be quite unpredictable – it's usually quite cold and it rains a lot – so that could be a major factor for the weekend, just as it was at Silverstone.
“I think we should be quite positive going into the race, though. After strong qualifying performances in Valencia and at Silverstone, we'll be working hard to try and get a race result that reflects our pace. I know the German fans will be out in force with six German drivers to support, but they will have to work hard to match the atmosphere we had at Silverstone, which was very special.”