Adrian Sutil claims that his confirmation alongside Christijan Albers in the Spyker line-up for the 2007 Formula One season is the best Christmas present he could possibly have wished for.
With most people expecting Tiago Monteiro to retain his seat with the Silverstone based squad, the news that 23-year-old test driver Sutil was being promoted to a race seat came as something of a surprise, not least to the man himself who had been focused on securing a testing role with the team for the new campaign.
However, he was more than happy to get his chance early although the Japanese F3 champion admitted that there is plenty of work to do ahead of the new season, with Spyker the only team on the grid not to have done any testing yet in the time since the season ending Brazilian Grand Prix.
“For sure I never expected to be a race driver at this early stage,” he told Crash.net Radio
following confirmation of the deal. “I expected a test seat but my management really pushed for the race seat and Mr Kolles knew my potential and did the deal. So here I am as a new race driver for the Spyker team.
“It was great present, the best in my life. For next season I will try to do my best and I want to learn. I am looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the new car as we have done no winter testing and I don't know what to expect. I think the new car will be a step forward and the development is looking good, but we will see where we are in those first tests.”
Indeed, Sutil was so confident of his chances of securing the testing role that he failed to appear in any GP2 or World Series tests – which would have been the logical move after his F3 title success - following the conclusion of the season but when the opportunity came to compete in a race seat, he took it with both hands.
“I was pretty sure that for me, it was going to be another test year but a real test year as the only tester for Spyker,” he said. “That was the early plan and I was very happy with it but in the last week I heard that I could go to the race seat and then things moved very fast. In the beginning I was more than happy to do a test deal and to now have a race seat is unbelievable.”
Sutil will also take his place on the grid in Australia at the same time as former team-mate Lewis Hamilton
and he said he was looking forward to lining up with his partner from the 2005 F3 Euroseries season.
“I spoke to Lewis and we are both very happy,” he said. “He is happy to be in his seat with McLaren
and I am happy to have my drive with Spyker. It is great that we will have our debut in the same year after having such a great season together in the Euroseries in 2005. We now go together into F1…”