Sutil says Hulkenberg deserves to be in F1

(L to R): Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 and Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India F1. Force India Headquarters, Silverstone, England,  January 2011.

Adrian Sutil and Nico Hulkenberg

Jan.26 (GMM) Force India on Wednesday finally confirmed one of F1’s worst-kept secrets. It has been known unofficially for some time that Paul di Resta is stepping up to a race seat this year alongside Adrian Sutil.

The holdup has been the situation surrounding the ousted Vitantonio Liuzzi, who possessed a fully-binding race contract for 2011.

The setting for Wednesday’s official announcement was a whiskey sponsor’s Glasgow headquarters, close to the birthplace of the debuting di Resta.

German Sutil said it is a shame that his countryman Nico Hulkenberg, who will have the reserve role in 2011, was not able to stay on the F1 grid after his solid debut with Williams last year.

“Nico definitely deserves to be in formula one,” Sutil told Auto Bild Motorsport. “It’s a shame for him, but being test driver is better than nothing.”

Said Hulkenberg: “My motivation is to convince the team of my skills in order to be back in a race cockpit in 2012.”

The 23-year-old is scheduled for a few days of driving during the pre-season tests, with Force India revealing he has agreed a “long term partnership”.