Fernando Alonso was Thursday’s fastest in Barcelona, but he was giving little away to the media.
Livio Oricchio, the correspondent for Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo, said the fact Ferrari is shielding the drivers from the press this winter is “angering” those in the media centre. At any rate, the so-billed ‘shootout’ between Adrian Sutil and Jules Bianchi for the last seat on the 2013 grid is attracting more attention anyway.
Frenchman Bianchi is scheduled to drive the new Force India on Friday, but the weather forecast is for rain all day. After a season on the bench, German Sutil impressed the Silverstone based team on Thursday with a time quicker than his potential 2013 teammate, Paul di Resta.
“It’s obvious that I’m still quick and that’s very important,” he told reporters. “Hopefully I’ll get the drive … what can I say?”
The 30-year-old, however, acknowledged that it’s not a straight fight, as were Williams’ ‘shootouts’ between Jenson Button and Bruno Junquiera in 2000, or Nick Heidfeld and Antonio Pizzonia in 2005.
“There’s a little bit of business behind it,” said Sutil, alluding to his links with Mercedes and Bianchi’s to Ferrari, regarding Force India’s eventual choice of V6 engine supplier.
He admitted to F1’s official website: “My relationship with Mercedes has always been good and hopefully they are heavily interested in having me in the car this season.”
Deputy team boss Bob Fernley said on Thursday that the team’s shareholders will make their decision probably at the weekend.
Sutil smiled: “They’ve been saying for a month that it happens in the next week. Let’s see who is on the grid in Melbourne,” he told Auto Motor und Sport.