Force India name Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg as 2012 drivers

 

Force India have finally confirmed another of Formula One's worst kept secrets by announcing Paul di
Resta and Nico Hulkenberg will be their driver line-up for next season.

It means the Silverstone-based marque have dumped Adrian Sutil after six seasons with the team through its various guises since he began in 2006.

Sutil also finished a career-high ninth in the drivers' standings this past season, as well as helping Force India to their highest position of sixth in the constructors' standings.

The 28-year-old German, who finished 15 points clear of Di Resta at the end of a solid rookie campaign for the Scot, remains favourite to be taken on by Williams.

Di Resta enjoyed a superb second half of the season, finishing in the points in seven of the final nine grands prix, including a high of sixth in Singapore.

For Hulkenberg, who last raced at the end of 2010 with Williams, the 24-year-old steps up from the reserve role he occupied with Force India last season.

Explaining his decisions, team principal Vijay Mallya said: "In Paul and Nico we have two extremely talented drivers with tremendous potential.

"Paul caught the eye of everybody in the pit lane during his rookie season.

"His speed, maturity and race craft confirmed we were right to believe in him and we look forward to working with him again next year.

"As for Nico, we identified him as a rising star at the end of 2010 and chose to evaluate him during the course of this season.

"Despite having only limited time in the car, he convinced us that he deserved a race seat for 2012.

"Our new line-up means we say goodbye to Adrian, who has been with the team since we entered the sport.

"He has been an integral part of our success over the past four seasons and we wish him well for the future."

For German Hulkenberg, there is naturally considerable delight he is back in F1 after he was seemingly unfairly dropped by Williams at the end of his rookie season in 2010.

Desperate for funds, Williams opted to hire a pay-driver in Pastor Maldonado who brought with him considerable sponsorship from his home country of Venezuela.

Back on the grid on merit, Hulkenberg said: "I'm obviously delighted to be staying with Force India, and to be given the chance to race next year.

"It wasn't easy to watch from the sidelines this season, but I did my best to help the team and show what I was capable of.

"I'm extremely motivated for 2012, and would like to thank everyone for believing in me and giving me this chance.

"I'm keen to get down to work over the winter to develop our new car and help the team build on this year's achievements.

"The first test in Jerez can't come soon enough."

As for Di Resta, he is now eager to build on the last campaign and strengthen his position in the sport.

"I've said all along I love being part of this team," said Di Resta.

"They are ambitious, hungry for success and we work well together.

"I'm really excited about 2012 and there is a real sense of belief that we can continue to push the top teams and take another step forward."

With Force India's vacancies confirmed, it now means there are just two available seats for 2012 - the one at Williams, and another at Hispania Racing.

PA

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