BY CHERYL TAY
He once said that he would rather remain single so he can focus on his racing career. However, things have since changed and Force India's Adrian Sutil is now "in good hands".
The 28-year-old German started in karting at the age of 14, before moving to the Swiss Formula Ford 1800 in 2002 and the Formula Masters Austria Championship. In 2003 he did the Formula BMW ADAC series before progressing to Formula 3 Euroseries in 2004 and 2005. He raced in A1 Grand Prix in 2005 and then did the 2006 All-Japan Formula Three Championship which he won.
His Formula 1 break came in 2006 when he was the third driver for the Midland F1 Racing team and promoted to second driver for 2007 after the team was bought over by Spyker Cars and renamed Spyker MF1. The team was then bought over and renamed to Force India, whom Sutil has driven for since 2008.
During the Singapore Grand Prix last week, Sutil made an appearance at German tuner TECHART's event held at autovox, amongst other sponsor commitments. Here are some questions that I asked him:
Q: Do you think we should have more night races?
A: I like to drive in the day time. One night race like this in Singapore is fine, with Abu Dhabi a half-day, half-night race. But I prefer to drive in the daytime where we are fresher. We want to perform as best as possible and it's a bit difficult to do that in a night race. We are not Superman, we do get tired.
Q: What do you do when you need to pee during a race?
A: There's no toilet in the car so I guess you just pee in the car. I've never done that but it can happen. Then again, every driver should go to the toilet before he races.
Q: If you could change something about F1, what would it be?
A: I hope the teams can be made more equal. The difference between cars is so big and it'll always be like that, but at least it is much better now that it was in the past. As a driver you always want to have a car that's able to win and that's only possible if you are in the right team. They are in the right direction to try and make teams more equal but maybe the process could be a bit quicker.
Q: Who do you think would make a good team-mate?
A: Mika Hakkinen? I always like to challenge the best drivers out there and I can mention a lot of drivers but I mentioned him because I was a fan of him when I was watching F1 and I admire him. At the moment I'd probably like to be team-mates with Alonso or Lewis — I want to challenge those guys, whether it's in a different car.
Q: You used to say you preferred to stay single so you can focus on racing. Does that still stand?
A: If it happens it happens. At the moment I am in good hands and I found a good girl. You can still focus and everyone has his own space.
Q: If you were not in F1, what would you be?
A: I would be a stuntman for movies in Hollywood. My second dream before racing was to be an actor. In F1 you are already an actor anyway; acting with all the press and not being able to say what you really want to sometimes. You always try to be perfect but no one's perfect so you want to hide your deficit and start acting in a way — it's in every business.
Q: What do you think of women drivers?
A: No problem — if they are fast enough, they deserve it. I wouldn't say females cannot drive; I know of some who can drive. Men are more into cars and they learn earlier maybe that's why they are better. Women are more into other stuff.
Q: Would you let a woman drive you around?
A: If it's my car, I don't want to be the passenger in my car. I normally just let a few friends drive in my car but they need to do a driving lesson with me first. I will take the passenger seat and then teach them how to drive and if they pass they can drive my car. But I wouldn't let anyone drive the super fast cars as that might be dangerous. (Ed: He wouldn't reveal what cars he owns!)
Q: What do you not like about F1?
A: The press work gets a little bit annoying. We just want to race and that's why I came into the sport. I just want to drive the cars to the limit and show everyone how good I am. But there's a commercial side to the sport and I understand. This is work to me, not pleasure, so I try to do it as best as possible.
Passionate about cars and motorsports, Cheryl Tay is a familiar face in prominent local, regional as well as international automotive titles. More of her at www.cheryl-tay.com.