You might forgive Rubens Barrichello and Adrian Sutil for being a little stand-offish at the very mention of Kimi Raikkonen, who is being actively courted by Williams for next season – the incumbent Barrichello will no doubt lost his seat if the Finn joins the team, while Sutil could find his one major option of remaining in Formula 1 (assuming, if expected, he is dropped by Force India) evaporate before his very eyes.
“I might go to Brazil without any confirmation [of a drive for 2012] but I’m not saying goodbye to my fans,” he told reporters in the Abu Dhabi paddock.
“I cannot talk anything bad about Kimi, or about anyone really. We all are in contention. I just hope I’m the better option,” the 39-year-old added.
And it’s not just Kimi who’s threatening the Brazilian’s increasingly tenuous position in the team, for Sutil (and his considerable sponsorship backing) could also be an attractive proposition for the team, which has undergone a serious technical restructure in the wake of the worst season in its history. Such a shake-up could extend to its driver line-up, many feel.
In any case, Sutil remained tight-lipped about any negotiations he may be having with other teams, although he did remain cool about Raikkonen’s expected return to the sport.
“I have heard that Kimi wants to come back, but there’s also a question about whether a team wants to take the risk of bringing somebody back who was hasn’t driven for two years,” he said.
It is understood that Force India will make its decision on its 2012 driver line-up before the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix in two weeks time.