There are growing rumours that Nico Hülkenberg will be promoted to the role of Force India’s second driver alongside Paul di Resta next year.
The move would leave the incumbent Adrian Sutil out in the cold, with the German having worked at the team since 2006 when the Midland organisation was in charge of the outfit.
After making his F1 debut as a Friday test driver, Sutil was promoted to the frontline driver line-up in 2007 when Spyker bought control of the team; he claimed a point for eighth at the rain-hit Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji.
The team changed hands once more to become Force India, and Sutil remained on board, steadily improving his results. Last year, he finished eleventh overall in the championship standings.
The current season has seen some flashes of form from Sutil – he again sits eleventh overall – but his rookie team-mate Paul di Resta has been generally the more impressive driver. Coupled with di Resta’s long-time association with the team’s engine supplier, Mercedes, the Scot is perhaps viewed as the star of the future.
Certainly there are question marks over Sutil. His wet-weather skills aside, he’s not known for his ability to set up the car and there’s also that alleged altercation with Genii Capital cofounder Eric Lux in a Shanghai nightclub, which led to Lux launching criminal proceedings against Sutil for assault and causing grievous bodily harm.
Despite rather absurd denials from within his own ranks, Sutil has reportedly been linked with a switch to the Williams team in 2012 after he apparently paid a visit to the team’s Grove headquarters in recent times.
With Williams still short of critical funding, Sutil’s sponsorship from computer maker Medion would be an attractive proposition for the team, as it weighs up whether it retains or dispenses with the services of Rubens Barrichello ahead of the 2012 season.
[Original image via Sutton Images]