Back into the Formula One fold after a 14-month-long hiatus, Adrian Sutil, who will be seen racing for Sahara Force India alongside Paul di Resta, is aiming for an elusive podium finish this season before obviously wanting to better his 2011 ninth-place finish in the drivers’ championship.
“My aims are quite high. My personal goal is to better my performance in 2011 (ninth place). I feel ready for a podium finish,” Sutil told reporters at a press interaction yesterday.
“I don’t think I’m at a disadvantage (because I spent 14 months away from F1). Depends on how young you are. If you’re almost at the end of your career and you take a few years off and then try to come back, it’s always going to be harder. But I’m still young: only 30 (years old).
So I don’t think it will be a problem. I still have some eight to ten years left. Even Kimi (Raikkonen) came back to the sport after two years in 2012 and did quite well (Raikkonen finished third in the drivers standings),” added Sutil, who missed a podium finish at the Italian GP in 2009 by a whisker but became one of the first Force India drivers to pick up valuable points – after Giancarlo Fischella won the team its first ever points at Belgium in 2009.
This time round though, Sutil has already shown just how serious he is about his podium ambitions by emerging third fastest on the last day of pre-season testing at Barcelona.
Betting Force India’s finish at the constructors’ championship is also on Sutil’s mind as the 2013 Formula One season begins in Melbourne on March 17.
“Last year, Force India lost one position in the constructors championship (the team dropped to 7th spot in 2012 having ended the 2011 season 6th when Sutil was one of the drivers). We need to finish fifth in the constructors championship this season. Sixth is not good enough,” he signed off.
Only 19 races in F1 season this year
The FIA has confirmed there will be 19 grands prix on this year’s Formula One calendar.
A provisional date set aside for an additional European race on July 21 will not be filled after F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone failed to lure Turkey back onto the calendar.
— PA Sport