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2013-02-15 07:26

FLASHBACK TO 2011: Then Force India driver Adrian Sutil in action at the Yas Marina GP. He's hoping for a 2013 return to the team. Image: AFP

ALAN BALDWN

LONDON, England - Adrian Sutil moved closer to a return to Formula 1 on Thursday (Feb 14 2013) with a visit to the Force India factory to be measured up for a seat.

A spokesman for the only team still to finalise its 2013 drivers said the 30-year-old was at the Silverstone offices ahead of the second pre-season test in Spain scheduled for Feb 19.

OTHERS IN THE WINGS

He added: "At this stage the test-driving schedule for the Barcelona test is not finalis but there is a possibility Adrian could be involved. The driving schedule will be communicated on Monday (Feb 18)."

Scotsman Paul di Resta has been confirmed as a race driver but several candidates are waiting to hear if they will be in the second car for the team that finished seventh of 12 12 in 2012.

Sutil knows the ropes, having spent his entire F1 career with the team in its various guises as Midland, Spyker and then Force India from 2006-11.

The German left at the end of 2011 in controversial circumstances after a Shanghai nightclub brawl for which a German court handed an 18-month suspended sentence and fined him the equivalent of about R2.5-million for grievous bodily harm.

TRAVEL NO PROBLEM

Team principal Vijay Mallya said in October2012 that Sutil remained an option. The driver brushed aside concern about his conviction barring him from travel to countries with visa restrictions on those with criminal records.

"We checked all the countries and there is no problem for me to travel," he said in December. "All my problems last winter are solved, I'm ready for a new beginning."

Frenchman Jules Bianchi, the team's reserve driver and a member of the Ferrari academy, tested with the team in Jerez and is a serious rival for the race seat.

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