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Market waits for last pieces in 2012 driver puzzle

Force India’s drivers might have to wait a little longer to learn their fate.

Despite earlier scheduling a mid December announcement, boss Vijay Mallya has been pushed by Adrian Sutil to make an earlier call about the team’s 2012 driver lineup amid reports the German will be left out in the cold.

Reportedly in the hot seats for next season are Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg, but the pair insisted in India recently that they are not sure if they will be on the 2012 grid with Force India.

“All the drivers have asked me to make an early decision, and I respect that,” Mallya said on Monday.

But the Indian billionaire also said he does not want to rush, and denied rumours he has already made the decision and is keeping it quiet.

“I have a big decision to make!  But it’s not made yet — I’m not the type of guy who’s going to make a decision and string people along,” said Mallya.

“When I decide I will just tell them the way it is and that’s it.”

The holdup could tie in with the similarly unconfirmed seats at Williams and Renault, with Kimi Raikkonen and Robert Kubica regarded as the keys to unlocking the last pieces of the 2012 grid.

“There are many different options and of course a lot of speculation,” Raikkonen, in talks with Williams, told the latest edition of F1 Racing magazine.

“Until something is certain, there is no point in speculating because it could go any way.  To be honest, I don’t know myself yet.”

Alongside the Finn, Sutil – who has been with Force India’s Silverstone based team since its Spyker days – is also linked with the Williams seat.

“It is time for him (Sutil) to take the next step in his career,” Gerhard Berger is quoted by Auto Bild.  “He was always quick but he now races consistently without mistakes,” the former grand prix winner said.