While all may be dark over at NBC Sports when it comes to Formula 1, the sport itself is trotting out interviews with top drivers, and Adrian Sutil, like auto racing is going out of style.
Q: When you think back to this time last year, would you say that you are in even better shape now than you were in 2012?
SV: Yes, I would say so. Although you can hardly compare the car that we have now to the one we had one year ago. What we have is more or less the same car that we had in Brazil – with some steps forward. But from a personal level I can say that I am much happier now than I was one year ago.
Q: After winning the championship three times in a row, how do you find the motivation to achieve more?
SV: Thank God I don’t have to think about something like ‘finding motivation’! Sure it was nice what we’ve achieved in the last three years and it makes us all proud, but I would say that I am still in a phase of my life where I look forward, and that’s the right direction to go.
Anyone else miss the Vettel who didn’t seem so pre-packaged?
Q: What else have you learned from last year?
SV: I would say that we all grew as a team in the course of the 2012 season. We never lost faith in our abilities, even if we didn’t look too good at some stages of the season. We were fighting all the way, and fighting was what got us back into the game and delivered both titles.
Q: You are at the top of the time sheet today – and Jenson did pretty well in Jerez – so is it fair to say that the new McLaren is a pretty fast car and that it has what it takes?
SP: To be honest, I have no idea where we are. The time sheet looks nice for sure, but what it really means who knows? All I can say is that I know that we still have a lot to do before the first race.
Methinks someone is trying to position himself for Kimi Raikkonen’s spot when the Kimster retires.
Q: Before it was a good race position that made your day. Now nothing less than wins will do…
SP: Well, but isn’t that what every driver dreams about – to be given the car that can deliver? Well, then you better had deliver. I am sure I will get to Melbourne 100 percent ready. The last two days I will have in the car next week will finalise my preparation perfectly – and then Oz, here I come! (laughs)
I’m definitely interested in how his first race weekend will go.
Q: Adrian, after 452 days away you are back in the cockpit again: what does that mean to you?
Adrian Sutil: Oh boy, it feels great to be back. It is so much fun and I never would have imagined that I’d miss all that so much.
Q: What does it mean to be back at Force India: almost nobody knows the team like you do…
AS: That’s very true. I’ve spent six years with this team including the year as a test driver. They gave me the chance to come into F1 in 2007 and they gave me the chance to come back for this test. I’m very thankful for this possibility and I just wish that it goes on – and on and on.
Q: No problems at all getting back into the swing of things?
AS: No, I’m trained well and I’m very motivated – but also relaxed at the same time.
“Also, I’m staying out of bars.”
Q: Your hopes were always high that there would be a chance for you to join Force India again: how are the chances right now?
AS: Let’s wait and see in the next couple of days. My manager and I did all we can to make the decision easy for the team. Now we can only wait and cross our fingers.
Q: What are the biggest obstacles? The press rumours would have it that it is a question of engines: you and Mercedes or Jules Bianchi and Ferrari…
AS: Ha, this is Formula One so it is natural that there are so many rumours around. To be honest I focus on driving. My relationship with Mercedes has always been good and hopefully they are heavily interested in having me in the car this season.
Q: The season opener in Melbourne is three weeks away – how much longer can Force India hold off on their decision?
AS: My understanding is that the test next week in Barcelona will definitely feature both drivers from Force India’s 2013 driver line-up.
Hey! Some news. We should know Force India’s driver next week. Wait, is it news if it involves Force India?