New Delhi: Sahara Force India on Friday confirmed Paul Di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg as its race drivers for the 2012 season.
Di Resta continues with the team for his second season in a race seat, while Hulkenberg steps up from his role as reserve driver.
The Silverstone-based team dropped Adrian Sutil despite his career-best finish of ninth in the drivers' standings, but retained Di Resta after the Scot finished his debut season strongly.
Di Resta earned points in seven of the final nine races to help Force India to a best position of sixth in the constructors' championship.
Sutil finished 15 points clear of Di Resta and is expected to join Williams.
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director said: "I am delighted to present our line-up for the 2012 season. In Paul and Nico we have two extremely talented drivers with tremendous potential.
"I think Paul caught the eye of everybody in the pit lane during his rookie season. His speed, maturity and racecraft confirmed that we were right to believe in him and we look forward to working with him again next year.
"As for Nico, we identified him as a rising star at the end of 2010 and chose to evaluate him during the course of this season. Despite having only limited time in the car, he convinced us that he deserved a race seat for 2012," he said.
Hulkenberg's elevation to a race driver meant there was no seat for German driver Sutil who had been with the team since its start.
"Our new line-up means we say ‘goodbye’ to Adrian Sutil, who has been with the team since we entered the sport. He has been an integral part of our success over the past four seasons and we wish him well for the future," Mallya said.
Di Resta was relieved and happy to be part of the Force India set up for another year.
"I’m really looking forward to my second season of Formula One and continuing to grow and develop with Sahara Force India. I’ve said all along that I love being part of this team: they are ambitious, hungry for success and we work well together. I’m really excited about 2012 and there is a real sense of belief that we can continue to push the top teams and take another step forward. I’d also like to thank the team for all their hard work this year and for all the support they’ve given me. I’ll take some time out over the next few weeks to recharge my batteries and hopefully come back even stronger in 2012," said Di Resta.
Hulkenberg was thankful for getting a chance to drive in the next season.
"I’m obviously delighted to be staying with Sahara Force India and to be given the chance to race next year. It wasn’t easy to watch from the sidelines this season, but I did my best to help the team and show what I was capable of. I’m extremely motivated for 2012 and would like to thank everyone for believing in me and giving me this chance. I’m keen to get down to work over the winter to develop our new car and help the team build on this year’s achievements. The first test in Jerez can’t come soon enough," Hulkenberg said.
(With inputs from Associated Press)