The team finally confirmed their 2nd driver choice for 2013 during the lunch hour at Barcelona in the midst of some very heavy rainfall which has limited the usefulness of testing anything other than wet set-ups.
While this was the expected result the team have taken their time over the announcement. Their press release was expected over the course of today and Sutil's confirmation was widely reported as awaiting the return of VJ Mallya from abroad.
The announcement completes the driver line-up for 2013 subject, of course, to Luiz Razia's backers paying Marussia to enable the rookie to drive.
The press release simply states:
Sahara Force India is pleased to announce that Adrian Sutil will complete its driver line-up for the 2013 season.
The 30-year-old German will race alongside Paul Di Resta, recreating the successful partnership that raced together during the 2011 season.
The 2013 campaign will be Adrian’s fifth racing season in the colours of Sahara Force India and his sixth year of Formula One competition.
Adrian will test for the team this week in Barcelona, driving on Friday and Saturday. Paul Di Resta will be back in the car on Sunday.
Dr Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director: “The decision over our driver line-up has not been an easy one and we have given it great consideration over the last few months. It was a close call, but ultimately we felt that Adrian’s experience and historic links to the team gave him the edge, and will provide us with the best possible chance of realising our ambitions for the coming season. If he can rediscover the exceptional form he showed in the second half of 2011, I’m confident that we can pick up where we left off at the end of 2012. As for Jules Bianchi, he has impressed us enormously with his speed and work ethic, and I’m hopeful we can continue working with him this year to help him develop into a future Grand Prix driver.”
Adrian Sutil: “I’m delighted to be back in Formula One, especially with a team I know so well. I’m very happy and I want to thank Sahara Force India for giving me a second chance. Having been away from the sport, I’m even more determined to achieve my goals in Formula One. Things went really well at the Barcelona test last week and it almost feels as though I’ve never been away. Driving the car felt so natural and I was able to get back in the groove quickly and find the limit. Now my focus is on making the most of the final test session this week, working with the team in the simulator and getting myself in the best possible shape for Melbourne.