F1 2011: Sutil aims for podium finish
Force India's Adrian Sutil is optimistic about breaking the podium duck this year.
Silverstone: Joined by two new teammates, Adrian Sutil, Force India's senior most driver for the 2011 season, refused to be labelled as lead racer of the team, but is optimistic of breaking the podium duck this year.
Sutil finished 11th in the drivers' championship last season with 47 points as Force India earned a creditable seventh position with 68 points, just one less than sixth placed Williams.
After Tonio Liuzzi was dropped from the team, last season's test and reserve driver Paul di Resta was promoted to the racing seat, and new signing Nico Hulkenberg was given the test duty.
But Sutil said equality is the attribute which is an intrinsic part in running the team.
"We are all treated equally in the team and there's no 'lead' driver so to speak. Information and parts are shared and we all know what we need to do to achieve the results the team wants. We've got a very good relationship and I think it's going to be a very strong partnership," Sutil said.
Talking about the soon-to-start F1 season, he said,"We need to be in the points regularly and at times challenging for the podium. I'm really confident we can do it."
"I'm genuinely excited about the 2011 season. I just missed out on the top 10 last year in the drivers' standings - I'm pretty hopeful I can get in there this season! The progress the team has shown over the past two years has been very impressive and what I've seen in the factory and at the wind tunnel over the past weeks indicates that the rate will continue this year."
It will be Sutil's fifth season with the team, earlier known as Spyker, and he admitted that staying with the team for so long has helped him.
"Definitely. For me, when I feel comfortable I feel good, and when I feel good I perform to my best. I respond a lot better to a positive environment and there certainly is one at Force India as we know what we're capable of achieving," he said.
Sutil said the hard work done by engineers in developing the new car, which will be better equipped technically, will show in the 2011 season.
"Last year we started the season really strongly and I was qualifying in the top ten at most races but then, the second part of the year was a bit more challenging.
"We were still developing but the other teams had a quicker development rate, which meant we dropped some points.
It's something we've worked really hard to address this year, tying everything in together with regards to the wind tunnel, track work and the design process back in the factory. We've got targets to finish at least one spot higher than last year, so consistency has got to be key. As for podiums, why not - we should certainly be in the mix at some races," he said.
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