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Sutil secures the final seat at Force India
Thursday 28th February 2013, 00:02 by TF1T Staff
© Sahara Force India F1 Team
Adrian Sutil will partner Paul di Resta at Force India in 2013 after beating Jules Bianchi to the final seat on the grid.
The German has been out of the sport for a year after being dropped in favour of Nico Hulkenberg - who has now moved to Sauber.
The team confirmed the long-awaited decision on Thursday. They had said a decision would be due in December last year, but held off announcing anything in order to evaluate both Sutil and Bianchi at the last Barcelona pre-season test.
The news comes as a blow to the French rookie who had been hoping to make the step up from test driver to second driver with the team. It's expected he will remain in the third role for 2013.
Speaking about the decision, team principal Vijay Mallya said: "The decision over our driver line-up has not been an easy one and we have given it great consideration over the last few months. It was a close call, but ultimately we felt that Adrian’s experience and historic links to the team gave him the edge, and will provide us with the best possible chance of realising our ambitions for the coming season.
"If he can rediscover the exceptional form he showed in the second half of 2011, I’m confident that we can pick up where we left off at the end of 2012.
"As for Jules Bianchi, he has impressed us enormously with his speed and work ethic, and I’m hopeful we can continue working with him this year to help him develop into a future Grand Prix driver."
Sutil added: "I’m delighted to be back in Formula One, especially with a team I know so well. I’m very happy and I want to thank Sahara Force India for giving me a second chance. Having been away from the sport, I’m even more determined to achieve my goals in Formula One.
"Things went really well at the Barcelona test last week and it almost feels as though I’ve never been away. Driving the car felt so natural and I was able to get back in the groove quickly and find the limit. Now my focus is on making the most of the final test session this week, working with the team in the simulator and getting myself in the best possible shape for Melbourne."