As the 2011 season winds down, there are a few out-of-contract drivers who are giving none-too-subtle hints that they’d like to remain in the spotlight for another year.
Enter Adrian Sutil, who has given a rather forceful hint that he’d like a quick answer on the state of play over his role at Force India, amid mounting rumours that the team has already signed reserve driver Nico Hülkenberg to replace him.
While it is believed that Sutil’s rookie team-mate Paul di Resta – a driver with strong backing from the team’s engine supplier, Mercedes – is already safe for next season, team owner Vijay Mallya has previously stated that he wouldn’t make any decisions on his driver line-up until after the current season had finished.
But that’s too long a deadline for Sutil, who is understandably concerned that he won’t be able to secure an eleventh-hour seat elsewhere if he’s dropped from the line-up in December.
Sutil has been part of the team since its Midland-owned days in 2006, and the German’s entire F1 career has been spent racing for the team under its various owners.
But it could be a case of history repeating itself, a fact Sutil seems only too aware of. Before the 2011 season, the team dumped Vitantonio Liuzzi from its line-up in place of di Resta; the Italian was able to secure the only vacancy left on the grid at Hispania Racing.
“I can’t wait till December,” he told the Reuters news agency.
“I will speak to [Mallya] very soon and see what his ideas are. I don’t need to wait so long for a seat. I think I know what I can do, so I don’t feel insecure.”
It is believed that Sutil – despite feeble denials from his management – is a contender to replace Williams’ Rubens Barrichello (whose position at the Grove team is equally unstable), but there is also the shadow of former World Champion Kimi Räikkönen, who is believed to be in advanced talks to return to competition with the team as Barrichello’s replacement.
Perhaps Sutil’s latest appeals are a means of forcing Force India’s hand before Williams runs out of patience and signs someone else?
[Original image via Sutton Images]