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Sutil manager admits 2012 could be 'last chance'

Adrian Sutil's manager admits that this week's F1 group test could be make or break for his client's chance of returning to the top flight.
Adrian Sutil could have just a day or two to prove that he deserves to return to the top flight of international motorsport, according to his management team.

The German is expected to be confirmed as part of Force India's testing roster ahead of this week's group session at the Circuit de Catalunya and, if included, could find himself in a shoot-out for the second seat alongside Paul di Resta with Ferrari protégé Jules Bianchi.

The pair are understood to be the only two under consideration for the vacancy, despite reports linking HRT refugee Narain Karthikeyan with a late bid to gazump both. Bianchi joined di Resta and Force India simulator pilot James Rossiter for the opening group test at Jerez, and did his claim no harm by posting the third fastest time of the week. Sutil, however, is thought to bring the bigger financial package.

The German remains under a cloud, though, having sat out last season following a 2011 altercation in a Chinese nightclub that led to Genii Capital's Eric Lux pursuing GBH charges and Nico Hulkenberg getting the nod to partner di Resta.

Sutil's manager, Manfred Zimmermann, admits that, with his client having been unable to race anywhere last season, this week's test could be a watershed in his F1 career, with rejection by Force India likely to cast him into the grand prix wilderness. The 30-year old brings both speed and experience, based on his previous spell with the team as it morphed through Midland, Spyker and Force India guises, but Bianchi could carry the trump card of being linked to Ferrari, should the team decide that it wants to run the Scuderia's engines from 2014.

“The chance of rejoining Force India remains intact, and we continue to hope, albeit knowing that Barcelona is pretty much the last chance,” Zimmermann told German news agency DPA following confirmation that Sutil had a seat fitting at the team's Silverstone base last week.

With just one four-day test remaining between this week's session and the Australian Grand Prix in a month's time, Force India is expected to formalise it line-up in order to maximise both track time and focus on its return to Barcelona in early March.

Interestingly, a Crash.net poll asking for opinions regarding di Resta's likely team-mate [ vote here] is currently showing overwhelming support for Sauber outcast Kamui Kobayashi, with Heikki Kovalainen holding down second spot as he seeks alternative employment following his release from Caterham. Sutil is only in fourth spot, behind Bianchi.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
22.11.2012- Kamui Kobayashi (JAP) Sauber F1 Team C31
Paul di Resta (GBR) Sahara Force India VJM06. 06.02.2013.
Jules Bianchi (FRA) Sahara Force India F1. 08.02.2013.
Jules Bianchi (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 Team VJM06. 08.02.2013.
26.08.2011- Friday Practice 1, Adrian Sutil (GER), Force India F1 Team, VJM04
13.10.2011- Adrian Sutil (GER), Force India F1 Team, VJM04
Mick Schumacher leads Harrison Newey in MRF Challenge Series in India
Alfonso Celis Jr - Sahara Force India
29.11.2015 - Race, Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR10 and Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 VJM08
29.11.2015 - Race, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 VJM08
29.11.2015 - Race, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 VJM08, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB11 and Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW37
29.11.2015 - Race, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 VJM08 leads Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB11
29.11.2015 - Race, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 VJM08
29.11.2015 - Race, Sahara Force India F1 VJM08 mechanics
29.11.2015 - Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM08
Sergio Perez - Force India
29.11.2015 - Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM08 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T
29.11.2015 - Race, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 VJM08

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February 18, 2013 12:57 PM

The Seat should go to the faster driver - simple as that. I rate Sutil & when he's had the kit underneath him has shown his potential (spa for instance). the gbh thing shouldn't matter.. its been dealt with and end of. Karthikeyan drove for Jordan at the same time as Tiago Montiero and did no better than him.. i dont hear anyone calling for Tiago to get the seat. I dont dislike Narain - but he's not good enough.. he had equal machinery in A1GP and won only a couple of races in 3 seasons. Surely FI have to take Sutil back.

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