Force India have confirmed that Adrian Sutil and Jules Bianchi will both test for the team at this weeks pre-season test in Barcelona.
Confirmed driver Paul di Resta will drive for the first two days of the test before Sutil takes over for Thursday and Bianchi drives on Friday.
Sutil, who formerly raced for the team from 2008 -2011, had a seat fitting for the team last week and now has the chace to get behind the wheel of an F1 car for the first time in over a year.
Bianchi also tested for the team at the pre-season in Jerez where he set the second quickest time behind Raikkonen on the final day.
The team were quick to suggest that the two drivers were not being pitted against each other for the seat. A Force India spokesperson said: “It’s not a shoot-out. It’s two drivers helping the team with this week’s test.”
Despite the team’s claims that the testing line-up is not a shoot out the decision to run both drivers suggests that this is the case and a drive announcement could be made following the test.
The team had originally said they would announce a driver prior to testing in Barcelona but this is now unlikely to happen.
The lack of decision suggests that the team are looking for money and sponsorship despite denials from Force India.
Reserve driver Bianchi impressed at pre-season testing but in his outings in free practice sessions last season perhaps highlight that he is not ready to make his F1 debut.
In Sutil the team has a dependable driver who showed promise of becoming one of F1s top drivers and certainly a top-ten contender during his time in F1.
The longer Force India wait to name the second driver the less time that driver has to prepare for the new season. They may feel that taking their time will provide the best solution but missing out on the first test and pre-season preparations will not help the chosen driver.
We may not know why Force India are so reluctant to name a driver but the lack of decision doesn’t bode well for the season ahead.
Hopefully the Barcelona test will help the team decide which driver is best for the 2013 season and an announcement will be made in due course.
My full article on who Force India should choose as their second driver can be viewed here.