March 23rd, 2013 (F1plus/R. Baillie).- The Australian Grand Prix not only marked the start of the 2013 Formula One season, but it also marked Adrian Sutil’s return to the sport.
Sutil returned to the team after they dropped him at the end of 2011 when he was found guilty of assault following an incident involving Lotus Team Direct Eric Lux after the 2011 Chinese Grand Prix.
Despite only being one and a half race weekends into the 2013 season Sutil has looked much stronger than di Resta so far, who seems to be spending a lot of his time blaming the team for not performing as well as he feels he should.
Sutil has out qualified di Resta twice and finished one place above him at the Australian Grand Prix, and it’s fair to say that had it not been for a poor tyre strategy Sutil would probably have finished much further up the grid.
Following a soggy Qualifying session in Sepang, di Resta was quick to point the finger at his team who called him in before allowing him to finish a timed lap at the beginning of Q2. When the rain came down di Resta was unable to control the car and found himself qualifying in 15th place, while Sutil went through to Q1 to qualify 9th.
Last year’s performance
Current Sauber driver Nico Hulkenberg joined the team for the 2012 season following a year away from the sport after being dropped by Williams. The two were relatively evenly matched at the start of the season, though Hulkenberg went on to consistently outperform di Resta at the end of the season, finishing the season 17 points ahead of him.
Unfortunately for teams like Force India, it’s all about money, which they need to avoid becoming another HRT. In order to get more money they need to consistently be finishing high and picking up points to attract sponsors who will give them the money they need to develop a better car which can one day take the fight to the big boys.
If di Resta has yet another uneventful year in Formula One, Force India may develop a wandering eye and seek out a replacement who will be able to match, or even better, Sutil in terms of performance and pace.
Unless di Resta fancies being without a drive or going to a smaller team he’s going to really need to prove his worth this year and outperform Sutil consistently, and as James Parker pointed out on the GPM blog, Sutil’s got a point to prove himself this year.
Do you think 2013 will be make or break for Paul di Resta?