Sahara Force India boss Vijay Mallya has suggested that Adrian Sutil could be an option for the 2013 F1 campaign if, as expected, the team has a vacancy for the new season.
While Paul di Resta appears all but certain to now stay on after his options elsewhere disappeared, Nico Hulkenberg is widely expected to switch to Sauber – which would leave Force India seeking a replacement.
Speaking to Reuters
, team boss Mallya revealed that he hadn't yet been informed by Hulkenberg that he was planning to leave but said Sutil was one option if his countryman did move on.
Sutil found himself without a drive for 2012 having been found guilty of grievous bodily harm after an incident in a nightclub in Shanghai during the Chinese Grand Prix weekend.
"I offered an extension to both drivers,” Mallya said. “I hear from the media that Nico has signed with Sauber. Well, if he has then good luck to him. I have not been officially notified by Nico of anything. He hasn't sat down with me and told me that. I would expect that he would if he was on his way...I have an excellent relationship with him, he's a wonderful guy. He's done well for us.
“[If he goes] Never forget I always have the potential of considering Sutil again. Sutil is always quick. So there are many options. I would certainly consider him.”
The long-term future of the Force India team has been called into question in recent months due to financial issues surrounding both the Sahara Group and Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines but Mallya insisted there was no cause for concern and that discussions would be held soon about the best way to use the latest funds coming as part of the deal that saw him sell a stake in the team to Sahara.
"It's very clear to us that we need some serious investment decisions," he said. "We have the capital, part of the $100 million deal I did with Sahara for the infusion of funds into the company for improvement basically.
"Now we've got to take a decision on how we are going to spend it because if I now want to start challenging Lotus and Mercedes and go up into the top five, we need some better tools and better equipment."