Adrian Sutil says he would be happy to remain with Force India for another year but, with the focus on reclaiming fifth place in the constructors' championship, admits that there haven't been a lot of talks with the team.
The German returned from an enforced one-year sabbatical to resume his partnership with Paul di Resta in 2013, but has yet to be talked of as a possible contender for a seat in 2014. With most of the 'silly season' attention being focused on the front of the grid – with Red Bull, Ferrari and Lotus all set to change line-ups - few other drivers have been linked to Force India. While James Calado – a contender more for the reserve role – and Jules Bianchi, who tested for the team throughout 2012 but lost out to Sutil in the race for the seat alongside di Resta in 2013, have been listed as contenders, Sutil appears content to wait for the opportune moment to start talks.
“I would be happy to do another year,” he insisted, “I'm just back into F1, more than half a year only. It would be okay, but I haven't really lost too many thoughts about it yet. It's quiet at the moment.”
Where there had once been talks of Sutil as a potential team-mate to Fernando Alonso at Ferrari, this year it would appear that Force India is the 30-year old's only opportunity to remain at the top table for another season. The German's bargaining power with other teams has been hit in recent weeks as Force India's form has dipped since mid-season – a situation Sutil ties directly to the enforced change in tyre construction following the blow-outs at Silverstone.
“Since the new tyres came in, it was clearly a step down for us,” he confirmed, “We used to be able to do one less stop in the race, which was a big advantage compared to others, and also the general balance of the car was much better and we lost it a little bit now. Spa was still okay, but Monza was a big disappointment.
“Coming here, of course, we try to improve our performance again. I don't think we get everything out of our package and we don't develop the car any more - that's clear - but it's not different to other teams. We have to get back again to where we used to be, and I think, even with this car, we can show more in Singapore. I expect a better performance here.”
Even without the continued development of the VJM06, Sutil acknowledges that Force India will continue to challenge McLaren for a top five spot at the end of the year.
“It would be a great success, of course,” he noted, “We are a few points behind now, and it's a very high target to complete, but we showed, with a good car, it's possible to fight against McLaren. What can we do? We are professionals, so we want to actually win races, which is why we're all here. That's why we never give up. At the end of the season, who knows what's going to happen?
“We only know that it's a big challenge to beat McLaren. but it's not impossible and that's why we're pushing on. It would mean fifth position for us at the end of the year, that's two better than last year and that means much better financial backing, of course, for the next year.”