Firstly, Happy Christmas/ Kwanzaa/ Hanukkah/ Winter Solstice to anyone who’s reading this; I hope you had a lovely holiday period. While most of the world has been busy buying terrible knitwear and cooking far too many vegetables, the chaps in Formula One have been signing contracts, visiting factories and doing PR activities. Here’s a brief round-up of all the happenings over the Festive Season.
Force India have employed two brilliant German drivers in the past two years, Nico Hulkenberg and Adrian Sutil, but the compatriots have never been team mates. Hulkenberg didn’t get a drive in 2011 because Sutil was in the race seat. 2012 saw the former in action due to Sutil’s alleged nightclub assault in Shanghai. With Nico at Sauber this year, Adrian got a second chance at Force India, and now finally, the pair will swap places once again, with Hulkenberg getting his second spell at the Indian outfit, and Sutil clinging on to a seat in the sport at the Hinwil-based team.
The signing ends Sutil’s long association with the team, which he joined when it was known as Spyker in 2007. He scored no podiums with the team(s) but managed a decent 4th place at the Italian Grand Prix in 2009, during which he chased Kimi Raikkonen. He and Raikkonen shared an unfortunate crash-love affair, with the Finn colliding with him while running strongly during Germany ’09 and more memorably, Monaco ’08.
As mentioned above, Adrian Sutil has joined Sauber after a complete overhaul at Force India. Sutil is a valuable, experienced driver, bringing with him not only fearsome wet weather skills but sponsorship money from Medion and Capri-Sun.
Contrary to his signing in the summer, Russian teenager Sergey Sirotkin will not be driving on Sundays for the team. The Russian still doesn’t have his FIA Superlisence, a mandatory requirement for any race driver in the sport. He will instead sit back and be the team’s Third driver, and Mexican Esteban Gutierrez will once again take the second race seat. This ends speculation that Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world, is withdrawing financial support for the team. It was thought that if both Mexican drivers left Sauber, Slim, a fellow Mexican would pull the rug out from under the team, but this has been disproved.