Force India have announced that they have retained Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi for the 2010 season. The team believes that this will give consistency in their driver line-up.
2010 will be Sutil’s fourth season in F1. He started in 2006 with Force India’s predecessors, Midland, as a test/reserve driver. He then went to a race seat with Spyker for 2007.
“2010 will be my fourth consecutive year with the team,” said Sutil. “I feel good here, it feels like family, and when you feel at ease you can focus your energy 100 percent on getting it right on track. Next season I want to be in the points on a regular basis, maybe even challenging for the podium, and the team has exactly the same goals. We are going massively in the right direction so with our combined energies I’m confident we can achieve even more than last season.”
Tonio has kept his seat since his move up from test driver in Monza this year, when Giancarlo Fisichella moved to Ferrari. He had made his debut in 2005 for Red Bull, and moved to Toro Rosso for 2006 and 2007. He then moved to being test driver for Force India for 2008.
Tonio said, “It was always my goal to be back racing in 2010 and I’ve finally achieved it. I feel the five races I did in 2009 were a bit of a warm-up; get back racing, learn the car, get the feeling back. Now I’ve done that I feel ready to really push next season. We were pretty strong in the last part of the 2009 season so if we pick up where we stopped I think we could be in for a good year. For sure points are the aim and showing everyone what we can do.”
Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal of Force India, stated, “We are very pleased to retain the services of both Adrian and Tonio for another season. We have always maintained that consistency is key at this stage in the team’s development and for the first time in many years we will have the continuity of not only the same drivers, but also the same engine and senior management. With this stability now in place I truly believe we have an excellent platform to build on and move forward on our strong 2009 performance. I am sure we have one of the most dynamic line-ups on the grid and I hope this will stand us in good stead in what we all hope will be a transitional year for the team.”
However, the role of third driver has not been announced yet. Next week, Force India will hold a young driver test, featuring Paul di Resta and current Indy Lights champion JR Hildebrand. The test will be three days long, and will be held on the Jerez circuit starting next Tuesday.