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Di Resta could switch to Audi, BMW for 2019 after Mercedes DTM exit

Mercedes DTM driver Paul di Resta says he could stay in the championship next season with a rival manufacturer

Di Resta is enjoying his strongest season since he returned to the DTM in 2014 after exiting Formula 1, and is second in the points behind Mercedes stablemate Gary Paffett after five rounds.

Mercedes' decision to exit the championship after 2018 has forced di Resta to consider his future options.

The 32-year-old tested for Jaguar in Formula E's rookie test and has sampled sportscar racing so far this year.

HWA, which operates the Mercedes DTM team, will join FE next season ahead of Mercedes' full entry in 2019/20, and di Resta says he is in discussions about being part of that project.

But he also says staying in the DTM with either Audi or BMW is an equally viable option.

"People tell me, 'This is your last year in the DTM' - and I say, 'It's not, it's Mercedes' last year'," di Resta told Autosport. "You have to think about your livelihood.

"I'm interested in the Formula E project, we're speaking about it, as all the [Mercedes] drivers probably are, but making sure you're driving [something] competitive is a big thing for me.

"I've been part of this family for a long time, but there's plenty of life left in me to make new relationships and I think [Mercedes] are very open to that as well."

When asked if his current form would make him a prime target for Audi and BMW if they were to expand their 2019 DTM line-ups to compensate for Mercedes' departure, he replied: "I guess it does.

"They all had eight cars not so long ago. But the big thing is there'll be new rules and a new engine, and the costs involved in that.

"I guess they are just holding back to make sure they go into it with the best intentions and securing a long-term future."

More sportscar races possible for di Resta

Di Resta has combined his DTM commitments with three appearances for the United Autosports LMP2 team in the IMSA SportsCar championship this year, taking on the Daytona 24 Hours, Sebring 12 Hours and Watkins Glen 6 Hours.

He also participated in the Le Mans 24 Hours with the Anglo-American team, but crashed out late on at the Porsche Curves while in contention for a class podium finish.

Di Resta is open to doing more endurance races next season if it fitted in with his main 2019 racing programme.

"I really enjoyed doing the sportscars this year," he said. "I did three of the biggest ones you can do, and I absolutely loved it.

"I wasn't sure about sharing a car with someone but having team-mates to share the weekend with was a big thing, and that's why it was such a big disappointment after Le Mans to have had that issue."

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