Adrian Sutil says the way is open for a 'new beginning' for him in Formula 1, insisting there are no legal issues that will prevent him being totally committed to a return.
The German, who is in advanced talks with Force India about a drive for 2013, was given a suspended sentence by a German court last year after being convicted of bodily harm against Lotus F1 team co-owner Eric Lux. There had been suggestions that his chances of securing a seat could be compromised by restrictions that would be imposed on him as a result of the court action, but he insists that there is nothing standing in his way.
"We have checked of course, me and my management, we checked all the countries, and there is no problem for me to travel – which is why I am here in Bangkok," said Sutil, during an appearance at the Race of Champions on Sunday. "All my problems I had last winter are solved, and it is a new beginning."
Sutil is going up against a number of drivers – including Jules Bianchi, Kamui Kobayashi, Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari – for the Force India seat alongside Paul di Resta. With the team having made it clear that its decision will be based on talent rather than sponsorship potential, Sutil says he is happy with the way talks are going.
"In five years I was in this team, they know how good I am and they know my qualities," he said. "I am not the one going to this team saying, 'Please, please, give me the drive.' They should come to me and say, 'We want you.' I want to drive for this team but they should also want me as a driver. I am quite relaxed.
"I know how to handle the situation. I did the maximum I could do and now it is up to them to decide if I am in the seat or not."
Sutil also thinks that if he gets the chance to return to F1, he will come back as a stronger driver after a season out of the sport.
"It was a different year. I really enjoyed the year, it was one of the best ever, as I had time for different things in life," he said. "I am definitely more settled in my life right now and ready for a new beginning in F1."