Adrian Sutil has inked a deal with the Sauber F1 team that will ensure he continues to race at the pinnacle of the sport next year.
The German, who was handed a second chance this year by Force India after a year on the sidelines in 2012, makes the switch after his old team opted to sign Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren refugee Sergio Perez, the latter confirmed on Thursday afternoon.
“I am very happy that we found common ground,” said Sutil, who effectively swaps seats with Hulkenberg. "Although I have known for a while where I wanted to go, in the end the negotiations took a bit longer than planned. However, now I will have all the more reason to celebrate during the Christmas season.”
“I've been in contact with [Sauber team principal] Monisha [Kaltenborn] for a while,” he continued, “and she always gave me the feeling my qualities are valued. After six good years driving for Force India, with a lot of highlights, it's now time to embark on a new challenge.
“I am determined to do my part in order to have a successful future together with the Sauber F1 Team.
“The long and successful tradition in motorsport, combined with an impressive factory and one of the best wind tunnels in F1, have been fascinating me for a long time. Thank you to Peter Sauber and Monisha Kaltenborn for your trust in me.”
Sauber team principal, Monisha Kaltenborn meanwhile revealed that Sutil visited the team's base in Hinwil around the time of the Singapore Grand Prix. The length of the deal with Sutil was not disclosed.
“We are pleased, that we were able to sign Adrian, particularly as we have been wanting to work together with him for a while,” she commented. “Adrian had already visited the factory at the end of September to have a look at the infrastructure. Adrian is not only very fast, but also brings a lot of experience, which is very important looking at the new regulations for next year.
“We welcome Adrian to the Sauber F1 Team and look forward to a successful collaboration.”
Sutil's team-mate meanwhile remains unknown, with the squad merely saying it will be announced at a 'later date'.
A number of candidates are rumoured to be being considered including Russian teenager, Sergey Sirotkin, as well as possibly Vitaly Petrov, Paul di Resta and Esteban Gutierrez. Sirotkin was thought fairly certain – subject to securing a super licence – after the arrival of a number of Russian backers back in the summer, however, it seems that is no longer the case.