Sauber seek to sack Su­til

Missed points-scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties at the Monaco and Ger­man GPs could prove costly

F1 Racing - - IN­SIDER -

Adrian Su­til’s For­mula 1 ca­reer is hang­ing in the bal­ance af­ter it emerged that Sauber are look­ing to re­place him with re­serve driver Giedo van der Garde. Su­til re­turned to F1 last sea­son af­ter a year out fol­low­ing his con­vic­tion on as­sault charges over an incident in a night­club on the eve of the 2011 Chi­nese Grand Prix. He matched Paul Di Resta at Force In­dia in 2013, and swapped places with Nico Hülken­berg for this sea­son.

The re­la­tion­ship be­tween Su­til and Sauber started pos­i­tively, fol­low­ing the team’s strong fin­ish to last sea­son, in which Hülken­berg scored sev­eral big points fin­ishes and bat­tled with lead­ing drivers at a num­ber of races. But while Force In­dia have ben­e­fited from the class-lead­ing Mercedes en­gine, Sauber have a heavy, un­com­pet­i­tive car mated to a Fer­rari power unit, which is heavy, thirsty and un­der­pow­ered.

At Monaco, both Su­til and team­mate Este­ban Gu­tiér­rez squan­dered po­ten­tial points-scor­ing po­si­tions by crash­ing at key mo­ments. And Su­til spun out in Ger­many when points were again pos­si­ble. As this is­sue goes to press, the team have yet to score a sin­gle point this sea­son.

F1 Rac­ing un­der­stands Sauber would like to drop Su­til, but he has a tight con­tract and pays a re­puted € 5mil­lion for his drive. Ac­cord­ing to in­sid­ers, van der Garde has back­ing to the tune of € 15mil­lion. Sauber be­lieve that while van der Garde is not as fast as Su­til, he is more tech­ni­cally skilled, so could be quicker be­cause he is bet­ter at setup.

Su­til in­sists he is not leav­ing. “Half my ca­reer they said: ‘Adrian is out.’ I am still here – 120 grands prix. Any more ques­tions? I will be here much longer. Sorry. You will have to live with my face. It is from peo­ple out there, I don’t know what their prob­lem is. But we are good here. This is no prob­lem: we will get out of this dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion and you can write some good stuff about us.”

What­ever hap­pens in 2014, van der Garde is a strong bet for a Sauber race seat in 2015. He will most likely drive along­side ei­ther Gu­tiér­rez, pro­vided the Mex­i­can money keeps com­ing – as it prob­a­bly will with a race in Mex­ico City next year – or Si­mona De Sil­ve­stro if she proves her­self in test­ing this sea­son.

Su­til has missed out on cru­cial points and can’t match the fi­nan­cial back­ing of van der Garde

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