Adrian Sutil has made it clear that Sauber has not addressed the issue of his 2015 contract before announcing that Felipe Nasr will join Marcus Ericsson next year.
Sutil signed a firm two-year deal last year which did not require him to bring any sponsorship – and he is paid a salary by the team. Sources suggest that there are no options or any way Sauber can cancel the contract without it becoming an expensive exercise for the Swiss team.
Sauber’s view is clearly that the sponsorship income from Ericsson and Nasr will more than cover the cost of paying Sutil to not to drive – and meanwhile the German is being told that unless he walks away the team’s future is at risk.
Presumably there was some pressure from Nasr’s Brazilian sponsor to go ahead with the announcement last night before the Sutil situation was resolved, which could make things messy legally.
Meanwhile sources say that Giedo van der Garde also has a contract to race for Sauber in 2015 and the team could face two legal challenges….
“There are certain things to talk about, definitely, yes,” said Sutil today. “I mean they’ve confirmed two drivers, it doesn’t mean the drivers are going to drive, and it doesn’t mean the team are going to drive. So there’s no real change from last weekend to this weekend. It’s just an announcement, and now of course in my situation I think I have to do some talking to sort out the things.”
Asked if he thought he would be in F1 next year he said: “At the moment, I don’t know. Maybe. F1 is unpredictable, but as I said there are a few things to talk about first, and the team has to comment on the rest.”
Meanwhile he admitted that the first lap clash with Sergio Perez in Austin was disappointing.
“We didn’t speak, so he didn’t apologise. Anyway, that’s how it is. It’s a shame, it was a good chance for points. A very nice qualifying, it was good to be in Q3 finally with this car, it’s been quite a challenge this year to be honest! So we didn’t expect it. For some reason it got better and better through the qualifying session, and especially on Saturday the car was better than before. So many things to analyse.
“We’ll try of course again here. I look forward to the race weekend, big chances with the weather looking very wet, and I think everyone knows how the race can turn out here in Brazil. We’ve seen many exciting races.”