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Force India choice down to Bianchi and Sutil?

With Paul di Resta the sole driver at the official Force India car launch on Friday at Silverstone, speculation about who else will be driving for the team narrowed to Jules Bianchi and Adrian Sutil.
With the 2013 F1 car launch season in full swing offering teams the ideal chance to show off their plans and driver line-ups to assembled crowds of journalists, Force India sparked gossip by being singularly lacking in driver presence at their own launch at Silverstone on Friday.

Paul di Resta did the honours, although despite receiving a public endorsement from team principal Vijay Mallya there's still speculation that his own 2013 race seat is not entirely as secure as the Scot would like. But the team was certainly completely tight-lipped about who might be in the frame for the team's second seat.

"The decision we will make will be for the benefit of the team," deputy boss Bob Fernley told the media attending the launch of the new VJM06.

Although rumours of a tweet from di Resta 'outing' former Williams F1 driver Bruno Senna as his new team mate did the rounds on Friday, any such message was quickly deleted. And while Senna, Luiz Razia and Jamie Alguersuari have all been linked to the seat in recent days, the smart money now seems to be split between former Force India driver Adrian Sutil and the team's 2012 test and reserve driver Jules Bianchi.

"At least Jules and Adrian, absolutely ... Jules is a significant candidate for what we're doing, along with Adrian," said Fernley when asked about possible candidates for the second race seat. "And a few others," he added quickly: "I think we shouldn't close any doors off."

Most of the betting seemed to be going in Bianchi's direction at the end of the week, but the Frenchman opted not to be present at Silverstone on Friday and instead attended the Ferrari launch at Maranello earlier in the morning. That possibly points to the Ferrari Driver Academy graduate taking up a third driver position at Ferrari in 2013 rather than sticking with cash-strapped Force India.

Fernley went on to stoke speculation that his team had perhaps not been entirely sold on the idea of putting Bianchi in the race seat so soon, having not expected their former driver Nico Hulkenberg to exit the team for Sauber as early as he did.

"If we'd had an ideal world we'd have liked to run Jules for two years as a third driver," Fernley admitted. "We were not ready for Jules to take that step, we were looking at a longer period of time."

Fernley insisted that the team had now resolved such doubts and believed that Bianchi was indeed ready for the prime time, and that it had been just a case of ticking all the boxes.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Paul di Resta (GBR) Sahara Force India F1 with the new Sahara Force India F1 VJM06.
Robert Fearnley (GBR) Sahara Force India F1 Team Deputy Team Principal and Paul di Resta (GBR) Sahara Force India F1 with the new Sahara Force India F1 VJM06.
Robert Fearnley (GBR) Sahara Force India F1 Team Deputy Team Principal and Paul di Resta (GBR) Sahara Force India F1 unveil the new Sahara Force India F1 VJM06.
13.10.2011- Adrian Sutil (GER), Force India F1 Team, VJM04
Free Practice 1: Jules Bianchi (FRA), Test Driver, Sahara Force India Formula One Team VJM05
Free Practice 1: Jules Bianchi (FRA), Test Driver, Sahara Force India Formula One Team VJM05
Ayrton Senna
12.10.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
12.10.2014- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
12.10.2014- Max Chilton (GBR), Marussia F1 Team MR03 and all the Marussia F1 Team show a panel for Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR03
12.10.2014- Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14T, Marco Mattiacci (ITA) Team Principal, Scuderia Ferrari and the Ferrari F1 team show a panel for Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR03
12.10.2014- Race, Adrian Sutil (GER) Sauber F1 Team C33
12.10.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
12.10.2014- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
12.10.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
12.10.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
12.10.2014- Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14T, Marco Mattiacci (ITA) Team Principal, Scuderia Ferrari and the Ferrari F1 team show a panel for Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR03
12.10.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14T

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soaum - Unregistered

February 02, 2013 3:51 PM

I am sorry but Sutil is better than Senna. Sutil is underrated and over hated. I remember thinking more than a few times in 2010/2011 that in a top car he would have won. Spa 2010 comes to mind.

Fernando Cruz - Unregistered

February 02, 2013 2:06 PM

Bianchi and Sutil may be appointed as leading contenders but that doesn't mean they are better than Senna. If Force India wants podiums or more should hire Senna, as he is as fast and consistent as Di Resta and will be really fast also in qualifying with 2013 tyres (with a wider performance range, easier to warm). Also he can only improve in a second full season, mainly if he has as much track time as others.



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