Adrian Sutil returned to the Formula One cockpit for the first time since 2011 on Thursday but the German may have to wait a while before Force India decide whether the test leads to a racing comeback.
Sutil and Frenchman Jules Bianchi are rivals for the last vacant slot on the starting grid but the Silverstone-based team appeared to be in no hurry to name their second driver even though the season starts in Australia on March 17.
Ferrari-backed Bianchi, the team’s reserve last year, is due to test at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya on Friday although the team say there is no ‘shoot-out’ between the two.
“We’re giving everyone the amount of mileage they need. We’ll try and get all the information we’ve been collecting over to the shareholders this weekend and then it’s their decision,” Force India’s deputy team principal Bob Fernley told Sky Sports television.
“We want to make sure that it’s an even playing field for everybody and that, more importantly, they have got the opportunity to get used to the car. Obviously one of them will come through and we don’t want to disadvantage them in any way,” he added.
Teams do not have to confirm their drivers until the week of the opening race.
Sutil, convicted of grievous bodily harm last year, was dropped by the team at the end of the 2011 season to make way for compatriot Nico Hulkenberg, who has now moved on to Sauber.
The test could be the 30-year-old’s last chance of a comeback after he was given a suspended 18-month jail sentence and fined 200,000 euros ($267,400) for a post-Chinese Grand Prix incident in a Shanghai nightclub in April 2011.
The incident left Eric Lux, then chief executive of Renault F1 (now Lotus) team owners Genii Capital, needing stitches for a neck wound caused by a champagne glass. (Reuters)