Spyker Takes Sutil
Colin Kolles has announced the signing of young German driver, Adrian Sutil, to be Spyker teammate to Christijan Albers in 2007. This is slightly surprising, since most had expected that Tiago Monteiro would continue as Spyker’s second driver.
But it does tie in with the sudden fashion for giving rookie drivers a chance. With Lewis Hamilton at McLaren, Robert Kubica at BMW, Heikki Kovalainen at Renault, Anthony Davidson at Super Aguri, and now Sutil at Spyker, F1 is filled with fresh new faces. I cannot recall a previous season in which so many first-time F1 racers entered the sport.
There are two reasons for this, I think. Clearly, the instant success of Robert Kubica at BMW made team managers realize that there were discoveries to be made within the ranks of hopefuls graduating from F3 and GP2. As the GP2 Champion of 2006, Hamilton was an obvious pick but there were others who seemed just as talented. Two who made it into test driver seats are Sebastian Vettel and Gary Paffett, both of whom look to be just as quick as any of the new drivers.
And then there came the retirement of Michael Schumacher. Somehow his disappearance has created a lot of space in F1 and allowed teams to be more adventurous in their choice of drivers. It may well be that memories of Michael’s debut at Spa in 1991 were stirred and the hunt for the next Schumacher has started. The weight of expectation falls heavily on the shoulders of Hamilton and Kubica but the others too will be watched closely for signs of greatness.
Every year we hope for a really good season to come but the changes and shake-ups of 2006 point to a fascinating 2007. So many imponderables have been thrown into the mix that there are bound to be surprises in the forthcoming races. Out with the old, in with the new!
So how good is Adrian Sutil? He finished second to Hamilton in Formula 3 Euroseries in 2005 but otherwise his reputation rests on the potential he showed in his few tests for MF1/Spyker this year. Colin Kolles has made it clear that he was impressed by Sutil’s performance and that is why he was given the nod over Monteiro.
Personally, I applaud Spyker’s decision. Monteiro is a known quantity and the team have nothing to lose and everything to gain by letting Sutil have a go. Albers is competent enough to ensure that the Spyker car will at least achieve its potential and Sutil offers the possibility that it might do even more.
It all adds up to a great season to come. I don’t know about you, but I can hardly wait.