Adrian Sutil finally flies the Force India nest in 2014, having decided instead to prolong his Formula 1 career at Sauber.
The German's switch to the Swiss team ends an association with their Silverstone-based rivals that stretched all the way back to 2006. His six seasons as a race driver with them were punctuated by a spell on the sidelines - Sutil was convicted of aggravated assault early in 2012 - but he returned last year and by general consensus gave a better-than-expected account of himself.
The son of professional musicians and a talented pianist in his own right, Sutil was bitten by the karting bug at the age of 14 before moving up to Swiss Formula Ford 1800 in 2002.
A rise through Formula BMW and Formula 3 followed. In the latter category, he partnered Lewis Hamilton in the 2005 Euroseries but really came to prominence the following year, when he captured the Japanese F3 title.
Colin Kolles, team boss of the then Midland/Spyker team (and who had run Sutil in F3), gave him three Friday practice runs at the end of the 2006 season before handing him a race seat the following year.
While Hamilton became a superstar at McLaren, Sutil was mired at the back of the grid. Still, there was the occasional flash of genuine promise - for example, a wet Friday practice session at Monaco, where the rookie topped the times.
Sutil starred again in the Principality the following year, although his quest for a first points finish was ended when he was hit by Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari while running fourth. In the event, he had to wait until 2009 for the breakthrough when Force India (by now Mercedes-powered and enjoying a technical partnership with McLaren) came good in Belgium and Italy.
Team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella almost won at Spa but Sutil featured too, qualifying second at Monza before finishing fourth. Such heights were not reached in 2010 but there was greater consistency, with six successive points finishes yielding 11th in the championship.
Sutil improved again in 2011, finishing ninth overall. However, the year will be best remembered for completely the wrong reason: an incident in a Shanghai nightclub where, celebrating Hamilton's win in the Chinese Grand Prix, he was involved in an altercation with Eric Lux, co-owner of the Lotus F1 team.
Handed an 18-month suspended prison sentence and a €200,000 fine, it seemed as though Sutil's career was over. However, he returned to Force India and suggested that time away from F1 had matured him.
But did it improve his performances? There was surprise at how quickly Sutil - who was only confirmed during pre-season testing - settled back in. He even led a grand prix for the first time upon his return in Melbourne and proceeded to score points eight times in all.
Yet he was convincingly out-pointed by team-mate Paul Di Resta and neither was there the sort of stand-out performance that can mark a driver out for greater things. The feeling therefore persists that Sutil is a good, consistent driver but no more and, in that sense, a move to Hinwil seems right.
- Sauber F1 Team
- DOB: 11/01/1983
- Nationality: Germany
- Debut: 2007 (Australia)
- Races: 120
- Career Points: 124
Pos Driver Nationality Team Pts 1 Rosberg Mercedes 202.0 2 Hamilton Mercedes 191.0 3 Ricciardo Red Bull 131.0 4 Alonso Ferrari 115.0 5 Bottas Williams 95.0 6 Vettel Red Bull 88.0 7 Hulkenberg Force India 69.0 8 Button McLaren 60.0 9 Massa Williams 40.0 10 Magnussen McLaren 37.0 11 Perez Force India 29.0 12 Raikkonen Ferrari 27.0 13 Vergne Toro Rosso 11.0 14 Grosjean Lotus 8.0 15 Kvyat Toro Rosso 6.0 16 Bianchi Marussia 2.0 17 Sutil Sauber 0.0 18 Ericsson Caterham 0.0 19 Maldonado Lotus 0.0 20 Gutierrez Sauber 0.0 21 Chilton Marussia 0.0 22 Kobayashi Caterham 0.0