Mumbai: Force India driver Adrian Sutil is confident of picking up points in the remaining seven races of the Formula 1 season and finish 2010 on a high.
“I feel very comfortable. They (remaining races) should suit our car (Mercedes). If you remember last year, there was a podium finish there (Italian GP at Monza) and a pole position,” said the 27-year-old German on Sunday evening before leaving for Switzerland after a short holiday in Goa.
Last year at Monza, Sutil, who came to India last Wednesday, was second in the qualifying and finished fourth in the race.
The regulations that caused changes in the tyres of F1 cars this season would be a disadvantage, felt Sutil, who is 10th overall with 35 points, but said he was confident of doing very well in four out of the last seven races this year.
“Last year we had an incredible car there, it was a big advantage. This year, it’s a little bit more consistent tyres. We don’t have that advantage any more. Still we should be able to score a lot of points in the coming races. We have very a good chance in Spa (Belgium on 29 August) and Monza (Italy on 12 September),” he said.
“Then we go to Singapore which is a bit more difficult course. Korea...nobody knows. Japan and Brazil should suit us well (before the season-ending race in Abu Dhabi). Four of seven...I’m absolutely confident,” said Sutil.
Sutil, who was in Goa on a short holiday, said he was satisfied with his performance this season.
“I’m satisfied and very happy with my performance. It was my goal to score a lot of consistent points and that’s what happened this year really. I lost a little bit (momentum) in the last two races. A bad weekend in Germany. (But) I’m not concerned we are losing. On the whole I’m very happy,” said Sutil.
“At the beginning, we had some failures in the car in Australia (Melbourne in March). I could not finish the race (because of) hydraulic problems. The first race (Bahrain GP in March) had a little incident in the first corner. In the third race in Malaysia, I got my first points and from thereon it went really well,” said Sutil.
“The only races that did not go well were the last two races (Germany and Hungary). In Hungary (Budapest on 1 August) there was this most uncommon incident that can happen in the pit lane, crashed into another car. Sometimes these things happen,” he pointed out.
While generally satisfied with his vehicle, Sutil also pointed out its shortcomings and needed the body shape to be improved in order to remain competitive.
“Generally satisfied, yes. (But) We have to get it upgraded now, we are losing to the competitors, a little bit in the diffuser area. We had not got this new diffuser. (But) It looks good overall,” he declared.
He described the race in his home country on 25 July as his worst so far and added the team members had a subsequent meeting to thrash out how not to commit some mistakes again.
“I think it was Germany. We just were not fast enough, gear problem in the morning on Saturday. I got extra pit penalties for changing the gearbox. There was big mess in the back.
“I don’t have to explain everything. People have seen, what happened in the race with the tyres. We were disappointed. Out of these situations, we learn the best. We had lot of meetings after this to try and make sure we don’t make these mistakes again,” he said.
For next season, Sutil feels his best option is to remain with liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s Force India but did not rule out a change too when asked about reports that he may join Renault in 2011.
“Too early to say, nobody knows what Renault is going to do. People are speculating. We have not seen any official statement. I don’t think about it so much. You don’t only want to take the result from this year. You have to look to the future with the team.
We (Force India) are very similar to Renault. Renault is one two places in front of us. At the moment, I don’t see any reason to change my team. To find a better team than Force India is difficult at the moment. You have to go to the absolute top teams. Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bulls...all those teams have no place,” he said.
Sutil also pointed out that he had a good rapport with team owner Mallya.
“I’m having such a good time with Vijay. He’s a very good businessman. That’s what you need to be in Formula 1. His personality is special. He is honest. He’s a character. When you go to India you feel he owns the country...Kingfisher, Kingfisher Airlines...everything,” he said.
Sutil knows that Mallya owned the IPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore, but the F1 driver said he does not know much about cricket and would need to stay in India to pick up nuances about the game.
“I don’t know so much (about cricket). I would probably need to live in India to understand the game. In Germany nobody knows what is cricket. In England of course cricket is popular. It’s a different world in India. In India it’s the no.1 sport. We are more into soccer,” he said.
Sutil said he did not follow club soccer as much as the World Cups and was more interested in watching tennis and adventure sports.
“I don’t even follow soccer except world championships. I expected Germany to finish in the top three (in the Fifa World Cup). I am more into extreme sports. Like to see some tennis matches. It’s quite an interesting game,” he said.
He also empathised with Indian F1 driver Karun Chandhok, who is in his debut season and is in 20th place, without a point while representing HRT-Cosworth.
“He has had a tough season. I know what he’s going through because I did it with my first team Spiker, a very slow car. It’s important to get some experience,” he said.
Sutil backed British ace Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) to win the 2010 driver’s championship though he admitted it was a close race to the ultimate glory.
“It’s very difficult to say (who will win), lots of drivers are there. Lewis Hamilton can do it. Three-four races ago I said I will put my money on Lewis. I will stick with it,” he said.