Few would have imagined that a promising pianist who looked set for a career in music would end up in motorsport instead, and that too at the highest level. Born to musician parents, music seemed the obvious career for Adrian Sutil until a chance discovery of karting at the age of 14 transformed his career aspirations for good.
“The most important thing in my life was the piano. My family is very musical. But now the sound of engines is music in my ears.”
Sutil dominated various regional karting series and graduated to compete nationally, eventually taking third in the German championship aged 17. Although the highly-competitive European championship a year later proved a harder nut to crack, Sutil’s determination never faltered. Cutting his losses, he exited karting and moved into single-seaters for 2002, landing a race drive in the Swiss Formula Ford series.
This was a bold move but fortune favoured the brave in Sutil’s case. He won all ten Swiss events, while also taking five victories in the Austrian Formula Masters tournament.
In 2003 he headed back home and competed in Germany’s Formula BMW series. He finished sixth in the championship. Sutil failed to win a race here but did take three podiums and as a result, earned a seat in the prestigious F3 Euro-series for the next season.
Racing for future Spyker team boss Colin Kolles’ team, it marked the start of a long and fruitful relationship for the pair. Even so, ambitious Sutil was brave enough to risk burning his bridges with Kolles by making a switch to the more competitive ASM team to partner fellow rookie Lewis Hamilton for the last two races of the season. The German held on to the seat for the following year, once again partnering Hamilton.
The 2005 season saw Hamilton dominate the proceedings but Sutil ended the year second best, with two wins to his name and a Formula One testing contract with Midland for 2006 in his kitty, courtesy of his old friend and Midland team boss - Kolles.
Always striving for better results, Sutil put down the opportunity to enter the glamorous world of Formula One for the 2006 season and chose to compete in the 2006 Japanese F3 championship at the same time. It proved a wise decision in the end and he won the Japanese Formula Three title.
Adrian made his debut in the following season in 2007 with Spyker. He impressed with his speed and consistency in an uncompetitive car. He got his team their first point when he finished eigth in Japan.
Force India team owner Vijay Mallya following Spyker’s buyout “I am very happy with Adrian Sutil and I’ve told team boss Colin Kolles that we need to keep him.”