Force India test driver Paul di Resta says he is excited ahead of his F1 practice
debut this weekend – but won’t be trying to set headline-grabbing lap times.
The British driver will take the place of Adrian Sutil in the Friday practice session at Melbourne. Sutil was fastest in the first practice session of the year at Bahrain.
Di Resta said:
I am excited, for sure. Given the pace of the car in Bahrain it’s a great opportunity for me at this stage.
I’ve never been to Melbourne but I’ll walk the track with the engineers on the Wednesday ahead of the race and work with them to be able to do some useful work during the session. At the end of the day I’m not going to come out and try and set fastest times – it’s about feeding my information back into the race schedule, helping the team and learning as much as I can. If I set a good time, great, but we need to approach this as a team as well and work through our programme.
I’ve been in the simulator, tried to learn the Albert Park layout and I’ve looked over all the information from Bahrain so I feel as prepared as I can be at this stage. As I say when we get to Australia I’ll be walking the track, working with the engineers and then keeping my focus during the practice session. I feel ready and can’t wait to get started; it’s a great opportunity.
Paul di Resta
The team originally planned to put di Resta in the car during the first practice session at every round this year apart from the new race in Korea. But having lost a lot of time in pre-season testing due to rain they elected to keep their race drivers in the cars at Bahrain.
Di Resta was at the Bahrain Grand Prix to learn how the team operates at an F1 race weekend:
Bahrain was a genuinely interesting experience. I’ve been to F1 races before but always as an observer, I’ve never been so involved in a team. A lot of the time was spent attending meetings, speaking with the engineers and learning how the team functions over a race meeting. It’s a professional team and I’ve learnt a lot about how to approach the car, deal with the systems and the procedures and also what the team needs from me in terms of feedback and support. They’ve made me very welcome and I’m looking forward to putting it all into practice when I get my chance in Australia.
Paul di Resta
Di Resta will use the same car number as Sutil, which is 14. He will also drive the car in first practice at Sepang next week in place of Vitantonio Liuzzi.
Force India are the only team running someone other than their race drivers in their cars this weekend.
Read more: Di Resta to do 18 F1 practice sessions
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