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Adrian Sutil regains Force India seat

ESPN Staff
February 28, 2013 « Lowe offered 'telephone number salary' - Neale | Grosjean has 'long-term future' at Lotus »
Good to be back: The media gather round Adrian Sutil after Force India finally confirmed he would be its second driver © Sutton Images

Force India has confirmed Adrian Sutil as its second race driver alongside Paul di Resta, completing the line-up of the 2013 grid.

Sutil - who raced for the team from 2007 (then as Spyker) until being dropped at the end of 2011 - beats Jules Bianchi to the seat after both tested for Force India in Barcelona last week. Sutil thanked Force India for the opportunity to return and said he is fully focused on preparing for the opening race in Australia.

"I'm delighted to be back in Formula One, especially with a team I know so well," Sutil said. "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."

Team principal Vijay Mallya said that it had been a difficult decision to choose between Sutil and Bianchi, and that he hopes to be able to retain Bianchi's services as third driver.

"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," Mallya said. "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."

Sutil will drive for Force India on Friday and Saturday at the Circuit de Catalunya before handing the car back to di Resta on Sunday.