Adrian Sutil left F1 under a cloud at the end of the 2011 season. The famous Chinese nightclub incident involving assault on Genii Capital CEO (and the-team-formerly-known-as-Renault bigwig) Eric Lux left him facing criminal charges. He was duly sentenced to an 18 month suspended sentence and a fine in the German courts early this year. The details of the incident are not clear (and what I know of it I am reluctant to divulge publically) but many have suggested that Lux set out to make Sutil unemployable. It was a curious end, for now, to a promising career.
Sutil possesses obvious speed and, although sometimes erratic, was showing signs of maturing as a driver in his last season at Force India. Curiously, there are stories suggesting that he is in the frame for a return to the team with Nico Hulkenberg allegedly heading sideways to Sauber. In many ways it would make sense, as Adrian has driven for the team exclusively since his debut when it was known as Midland back in 2006. On the other hand the team is sure to be affected in some way by the current financial problems facing Vijay Mallya, for whom there is a warrant for arrest in India regarding unpaid airport bills.
As a fan of Sutil I would be happy to see him return, but all parties are surprisingly quiet on the matter. Adrian’s website does not seem to have been updated for a long time; he has been seen in the F1 paddock but there is little word of his plans or current situation. Furthermore, the Hulkenberg-Sauber situation is as yet unconfirmed and, in many ways, questionable. One view is that Sauber is on the way up, with Force India heading the other way. With Felipe Massa expected to be confirmed at Ferrari for 2013 – most likely on a one-year contract – the doors are slowly closing for those without drives for next year. In my eyes it is more likely that Jaime Alguersuari, who has plenty of testing experience for Pirelli this season, will take the vacant Force India seat, if it happens there is one. Sutil, therefore, could be a forgotten man.