Di Resta excited ahead of Force India debut

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

2010 Australian Grand Prix

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25 comments on Di Resta excited ahead of Force India debut

  1. ajokay said on 23rd March 2010, 11:46

    I wonder if we’ll see more teams elect to do this over the course of the season? Seems to me to be the only way to give third/reserve/test drivers any kind of mileage. Tiz a good idea, I feel.

  2. BasCB said on 23rd March 2010, 11:59

    I hope it catches on, maybe teams can even let other driver reserves test their cars?

    HRT getting fisi or heidfeld to have a go at their car and improve it for them?

    • Mike said on 23rd March 2010, 18:00

      Maybe not so much Fisi, But I see Heidfeld as maybe, a bit to proud to test for HRT at the moment, Fisi, and I have much respect for him when i say this, May choose to do it, as it seems his long career is coming slowing and sadly to it’s end.

  3. steph said on 23rd March 2010, 12:13

    This is a good idea and hopefully it will be used more. I don’t know if the big teams would want to give up any of their time for young rookies but maybe some midfield teams might (although sponsors may end up playing a part). I think the only problem is there are already plenty of newbies on the grid without testing already so maybe it will be used more in future seasons when mileage isn’t so critical for so many drivers.

  4. steph said on 23rd March 2010, 12:14

    Oh and Di Resta has already set himself up to be a good F1 driver; he said ‘for sure’ in the first sentence!

    • Robert McKay said on 23rd March 2010, 13:05

      Surely there’s some sort of automaton PR-generator that just adds random “for sure” comments to F1 press releases :-D

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 23rd March 2010, 16:34

        I suspect there are only two rules to F1 media training:

        1. Begin every sentence with “for sure”
        2. On no account must you ever express an opinion about anything

        • Mike said on 23rd March 2010, 18:05

          I was just thinking about point 2 and it’s similarity to our beloved politicians when it occurred to me how great it would be for them to say “for sure” a whole lot more…

      • HounslowBusGarage said on 23rd March 2010, 16:36

        Gasp! He’s caught the disease already, without even testing an F1 car. It must be highly contagious . . . for sure.

    • marc said on 23rd March 2010, 18:23

      yeah cause hes scottishj

  5. GeeMac said on 23rd March 2010, 12:16

    I hope more teams start doing this, with the testing ban it’s the best way to keep test/reserve drivers sharp.

  6. Scribe said on 23rd March 2010, 12:18

    I think, as a way of giving new drivers more testing days, and making sure that the reserve driver can keep his hand in and not be a danger/a bore if he gets called up, certain firedays should be made mandatory for a third driver.

    Possibly even introduce a further session.

  7. Some people are hoping other teams follow Force India’s lead but I can’t see why any big team would voluntary do this sort of thing because it deprives their main drivers of valuable track time.

    The fact that Force India are giving Di Resta this opportunity says to me he will defiantly be getting a race seat next season if not before if Sutil or Liuzzi don’t perform this season.

    I think the only chance another driver will get a similar opportunity of driving only during Friday practice is if it comes with a sponsorship deal for a lower team.

    I think the best way to give new drivers in season mileage in current cars while keeping costs down is either holding Monday testing after selected GPs, or have an extra practice session on Friday for reserve drivers.

  8. Should be good for Paul to see what he can do. I’ve got a strong feeling that he’ll race at some stage this season, maybe its because i want to see another Brit on the grid, but it would be a great learning experience for him.

    Hope he goes well in pratice.

  9. Icthyes said on 23rd March 2010, 18:09

    Maybe the FIA should mandate FP1 to have only test and reserve drivers? at least then there’d be more of a point to having them, and give them track time in case they needed to be drafted into the main seat. The FIA’s current way of getting replacement drivers up to speed doesn’t seem enough to me.

  10. marc said on 23rd March 2010, 18:23

    hes gonna be great cause hes scottish

  11. Andrew White said on 23rd March 2010, 19:53

    Yes, but so was DC…

  12. manatcna said on 24th March 2010, 2:07

    Does anybody else feel Tonio’s time at Force India is drawing to a close?

  13. MacLeod said on 24th March 2010, 9:08

    I think FI wants a good driver for next season and this kind of relations helps to get him for longer times, or is he not that good?

  14. Matt said on 24th March 2010, 12:21

    Hats off to Force India. I have grown to like that team, I reckon they deserve to be best of the rest this year. Who do you think will get 5th in the constructors then?

    • Can’t agree anymore.
      And I also feel that Di resta will be upto speed by the time of Monaco GP.

  15. Chris said on 25th March 2010, 8:59

    I think its a good move by team principal Mallya. It will send a clear message to the current drivers that they have to perform and just saying ‘big step forward’ is not enough. The drivers have a car that is fast and reliable, and they need to show results.
    Sutil is kind of 50-50 driver, fast but unreliable. Liuzi is slower than Sutil but more likely to finish higher in the race but not sure yet if he has the ability to finish in top 5.
    I for one am not convinced with Sutil’s ‘bad luck’. Last race he was blinded for a few seconds and ends up ramming into Kubica. As an F1 driver you need to be more aware of unexpected situations and still come on top. Cannot be waiting for perfect driving conditions all the time.

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