Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Team Season Review: Force India

Force India shined as both drivers continued to impress, securing the team sixth place.
Drivers: Adrian Sutil, Paul di Resta
Best Finish: 6th (Germany, Singapore, Brazil)
Best Qualifying Result: 6th (Britain)

Points: 69
Constructor's Championship: 6th

A brilliant season for Force India, in which they really did improve from last season. Young Paul di Resta did a brilliant job in his rookie year, and Adrian Sutil drove an excellent second half of 2011. It started well with both drivers making the points in Australia, while Di Resta scored again in Malaysia. Force India had a good race in Monaco, with Adrian Sutil bringing the car home in an excellent seventh place, moving him six points clear of Di Resta in the championship. There were more points for Sutil in Valencia, while the team had a wonderful qualifying session at Silverstone, with Di Resta sixth and Sutil eleventh. Sutil's performance at his home race in Germany was superb, taking sixth place. Di Resta ended his run out of the points though in Hungary, with a fantastic seventh place despite being almost run off the track by Lewis Hamilton. There was another seventh for the team in Belgium, as Sutil drove a controlled race. By this time they had passed Sauber, and now had their sights set on catching Renault for fifth in the Constructor's Championship. The team had one of their best ever races in Singapore, with Di Resta coming sixth, and Sutil just behind in eighth. There were points in Korea, India and Abu Dhabi before a brilliant sixth from Sutil and eighth from Di Resta meant they just missed out on fifth place in the Constructor's. In my recent interview series, Jack Leslie, Wasif Anowar and Ellis Crozier-Gittings all said they thought Force India were the most improved team in 2011. Now we await to find out if Nico Hulkenberg will be promoted to a race seat, despite both Sutil and Di Resta having great years.

Best Finish: 6th (Germany, Brazil)
Points: 42
Driver's Championship: 9th

Sutil's wonderful Brazilian race
A season for Sutil which started as if he was going very badly, but the German picked it up later on and had a brilliant year, taking ninth in the Driver's Championship after a middle to end of season resurgence in form. It started well with ninth place in Australia, but this was followed by four very disappointing races out of the points. Monaco was a great race for Sutil, surviving a late collision (which brought out a red flag) with Vitaly Petrov, Lewis Hamilton and Jaime Alguersuari, to finish seventh and collect six points. A retirement in Canada was followed up with another points finish in Valencia, ninth place. Sutil's best race came in two Grands Prix time, at his home race in Germany. Battling Jenson Button right up until Button's retirement, Sutil finished a fantastic sixth. Belgium saw another high finish, with seventh for Sutil. Singapore was an eighth place for the German in a very strong race for the team. Two pointless races in Japan and Korea were followed up with a ninth at the first Indian Grand Prix, moving him now well ahead of Di Resta. Still rumours were rife that he should be replaced, but he took another points finish with eighth in Abu Dhabi. Brazil was his best race of the season though, taking a magnificent sixth place after winning a long battle with Nico Rosberg. So despite a strong season for Sutil, many still reckon he will be sacked.

Best Finish: 6th (Singapore)
Points: 27
Driver's Championship: 13th

Di Resta had a great race in Hungary
After impressing in Friday practice sessions in 2010, as well as winning the 2010 DTM Championship, Paul di Resta was finally signed up to a permanent race seat with Force India. Di Resta out-qualified Sutil in the first three races, and also greatly impressed with two tenth place finishes in Australia and Malaysia, points in his first two. However, there seemed to be a dry patch from there on, with a very messy race in Monaco resulting in numerous collisions and a drive-thru' penalty. He was running well in Canada, but came together with Nick Heidfeld, ruling him out of the points. His home weekend at Silverstone was very positive. He qualified an exceptional sixth place, and was running around that position until his pit stop. It was a disaster, and he lost any chance of points. Later he made contact with Sebastien Buemi in a very frustrating race for the Scot. Hungary was a fantastic race for Di Resta, taking a seventh place in mixed conditions, despite being forced off the track by Lewis Hamilton. Italy was his next points finish, with a strong eighth place. However, the Scot's best drive came in Singapore, where he finished sixth in an excellent drive which earnt him eight points. By this time the difficult mid-season form appeared to have gone, and he was in the points again at Korea, with tenth place. Di Resta finished a very impressive season with ninth in Abu Dhabi and eighth in Brazil. The young Scot won the Autosport rookie of the year award, and finished a positive 13th in the championship.

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