Adrian Sutil believes both Sahara Force India cars can finish with points at Indian GP
There's been a lot happening at Force India off late. Close on the heels of their second double points finish of the season at the Singapore GP, came a stake acquisition by the Sahara Group leading to, not only a name change (Sahara Force India), but a hopeful change in on-track performance too. At least, that's what senior driver Adrian Sutil is expecting from the first and only Indian-owned F1 team all set for their inaugural home GP next week.
Ready to rock: Sahara Force India driver Adrian Sutil. Pic/Getty images
What are your expectations from the Indian GP in terms of (i) results, (ii) spectators?
In terms of results, it would be nice to score points. I know we all dream of a podium, but a realistic goal is to get both cars home in the points. If we can do that it will be a good result for us. I've been to India a number of times in the last four years and met lots of fans. They are always very friendly, enthusiastic and polite. For a long time F1 was not part of the Indian culture but Dr (Vijay) Mallya (Team Principal) has done a lot to help grow the popularity of the sport. I hear that tickets are selling fast, so I'm expecting a huge crowd to witness this historic race.
What are your thoughts on the Buddh Circuit?
I've not seen it yet and have only looked at the maps. But we have had a simulator session and it does look interesting. I've heard great reports on the layout too.
The team has made good progress this season as compared to last year, but what's the aim in terms of finishing position at the end of the season?
At the moment we are sixth in the championship (49 points), which is the highest we've been. We are not far behind fifth-placed Renault (72 pts), but it will be a big task to catch them before the year ends. So, we are focussed on securing sixth, which would be a great achievement.
There's been constant talk of the absence of an Indian driver in the only Indian F1 team. Do you think an Indian driver will help increase the home fan base?
It's something for the future and that's why Dr Mallya has launched his academy to look around India and give youngsters a chance to showcase their talent, to learn about the sport, develop as drivers and maybe one day race in F1. Along with an Indian team and an Indian GP, having more Indian drivers on the grid will be great.
During a previous interview (last year) you said you were learning the rules of cricket given Dr Mallya also owns an IPL team. Have you mastered the game yet?
Good question! I certainly know more about cricket now than I knew then... maybe not all the rules though... I don't have time to play the game. But it always impresses me to see how much the Indian people love cricket.