Q & A with Adrian Sutil

This is a big season for both Adrian Sutil and the Force India team, with the new McLaren-Mercedes technical partnership potentially giving the young German his biggest opportunity in Formula One yet - but also putting him under pressure to perform consistently

Q & A with Adrian Sutil

During testing at Jerez this week, Sutil told autosport.com why he's so upbeat about 2009, but also trying to keep his expectations under control.

Q. What are your expectations for this year?

AS: I hope to improve myself again. You can learn every season, so it's important to learn again this year. We should have maybe better chances, so it could be the first time we can show a little bit more and race the other guys. At the moment we don't know, but for sure we have the biggest potential of the last few years. So I'm making sure I'm absolutely prepared fitness-wise, and hope for a good season without any incidents, and a few points at the end.

Q. What do you hope to achieve compared to Giancarlo Fisichella?

AS: As always it's important to be the winner in the team in the end. Last year was a hard fight. We were pushing each other quite a lot in the end. At the beginning I had my own problems, but then I caught up and it was very nice. I'm looking forward to it again this season because I know he is fast and it makes it more interesting. I'll try, for sure, to get the maximum out (of the car) and hopefully to be a little bit better.

Q. Before you had customer engines, but now you've got a larger partnership with McLaren and Mercedes. What difference has that made?

AS: It's quite a big difference for sure. We have more parts of the car from them, so we get the gearbox, hydraulics and engine, which allows us just to work more on specific areas and have more people working just on the aero, which is one of the most important things. So I think we have the best partner and we can build on it. It makes me very confident.

Q. So is the team stronger than last year? Have the aerodynamics improved, for instance?

AS: I hope so. The car looks much more designed than last year, all the little details are much nicer and very precise. This makes the difference in the end in Formula One - if you put all the details together, take care of the details, you have a good car. So when I saw the car for the first time I was quite impressed. It was a big change.

I don't want to say if we've really improved a lot or not, but my feeling is very positive. Together with McLaren we're building the team up now, and we solved a lot of problems during the winter. There's just a very good atmosphere, everyone is confident and it makes me feel good.

Q. The team have some ambitious targets for this year, including regular points. Are those goals achievable?

AS: Everything is possible, I always say, in Formula One. But I am careful with these kind of statements, because the whole package has to be very good to suddenly go from the last row to the midfield, or even in the points. If you want to run consistently in the points it has to be really good. But everything is possible, and it's nice to have these ambitions and to be confident.

But we shouldn't be too confident right now, we should concentrate on work and not talk too much. In the end we have to show the results and then the world will see. We don't need to mention too much about it - that's why I'm a little bit quiet. I'm more for getting the results on the circuit and then getting out of the car with a little smile.

Q. The McLaren deal delayed the build of the car and means you'll only have two shakedowns and eight days of testing before Melbourne. Is that enough?

AS: It's not enough, but that's all we have right now. Eight days in total, four days for each driver, it's the first time we've had so little testing before a season. Last year was not too much either, but four days is really nothing. But we'll try our best. We can still perform quite well in Melbourne if our testing is fine and the car has not many problems, then we could be able to show not 100 percent, but maybe 90 percent in Melbourne, and then find the last percent over the next few races.

Q. Is it going to be difficult to catch up given the testing ban?

AS: Yeah, difficult to catch up. Testing is now banned during the season, which makes things much more difficult. I think on Fridays it's now quite important to drive a lot and test parts, but you also have to take care of the engines, so it's hard to say what is the best thing to do. But everybody is a little bit limited, but to catch up is actually impossible, so you just have to try to make the most out of it. It will be a disadvantage during the season, absolutely.

Q. Which teams do you expect to be fighting with?

AS: That's a difficult question. Right now I can't say. You can see already that a few teams are really strong, but we saw last year in testing there were also a few teams that were running in front the whole time but who were low on fuel, so you came to Melbourne and actually the field changed a little bit.

This year Honda is for sure one of the teams that may struggle a little bit, with no testing really, but maybe they'll have a good car, you never know. So right now I can't say which teams it will be. It depends on our performance and the other performances.

Q. Colin Kolles was a big supporter of yours - he believed in you and brought you back from Japanese racing to F1. Now he's no longer at the team. Is that a disadvantage for you personally?

AS: It was nice to have him for the last years. He did a lot for the team. He was always 100 percent. But okay, there were some problems in the end and it was the decision of the team to do it without him. So we have to respect that. It was nice to work with him, but in Formula One sooner or later things change. He did his job, now there's a new future for the team. Now we have Simon Roberts, who is a really good guy and I think he will do at least a similar job to Colin.

Right now the atmosphere is good. Also Mike (Gascoyne) left the team. There were several problems but we tried to sort out all the problems. Sometimes if you have good people but they don't integrate really good into the team and there are some problems then you have to see how to solve it.

The team decided to let both of them go and start anew with completely different guys leading, and it could be good for the team. We will see. But right now the atmosphere's good, and that's what is important. We wanted to sort out all the little troubles in the team, and that's what we did. I'm alright with it.

Q. Is the team stronger than 12 months ago?

AS: It should be, yeah. Really from all the organisation in the team there was a big change during the winter, and now with McLaren it shows that now a lot more is possible. We'll see on the circuit, but in general it makes me very confident. I have a really good feeling, absolutely a better feeling than last year.

You always have to say before the start of the season that you're confident it will be a better season than last season, but sometimes you say it and you don't really believe it. But this year I think we can all believe it, and hopefully it will happen.

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