Following the opening two days of Formula 1 testing at Jerez, former McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award winner Paul di Resta reflected on his time with the Force India squad.
The DTM star has been impressive so far, setting top-four times on each day, despite having limited time in the car as he shared with American JR Hildebrand.
Q. What are your impressions of the VJM02?
Paul di Resta: It's a very different sensation to anything else I've driven. You think you will be prepared for how fast the car is but really there's no preparation for it. The more you push these cars, the more you get out of them so you need to get out of your comfort zone. It's everything I've ever dreamed of, from the noise to the speed, and it's what I've waited all my life for. I want to enjoy every moment.
Q. This is now your third separate test in an F1 car - does any of your previous experience help you?
PDR: I did a run with McLaren at Silverstone National almost a year ago, but it was really just system checks that time. I haven't been in a single seater for about 13 months now and the car this year is very different to last year - there's a lot less downforce, and there are the slick tyres. It has helped a bit but this is also my first time on a longer track so I've had to learn something new again.
Q. Is there any similarity to the DTM car you've been used to driving?
PDR: A lot of people say that I am a touring car driver, but the DTM car is not really a touring car, it's more of a single seater with a body on it. These cars have a lot of downforce, they are very technical and I would say that it's probably the next best thing to F1 in terms of development and the rate of progress. That said, the VJM02 feels very different to the DTM car. The C-Class has good brakes and good stability, but the F1 car is in a world of its own. Getting used to this and getting outside your comfort zone is when you achieve results in this car.
Q. You had a further morning in the car on Wednesday - what was your programme and what are your feelings after this?
PDR: On Tuesday the programme was to get comfortable in the car and to see how everything worked. I was able to get to a reasonable level quite quickly after one run so I felt prepared and had progressed enough for the team to be able to use me to test some development items, which will of course help in 2010. We had quite a structured programme this morning of running back to back set-up for 2009 and 2010 and both long and short runs, but it went pretty well.
Q. Does the approach to the test differ in any way to what you have been used to in DTM?
PDR: There are a lot of people in the garage but everyone has a job to do, me included. I'm used to testing and trying to get some extra performance, and it's important to be comfortable and confident with the car. I'm up to speed now and I understand what I can do to improve my own performance. Equally each run we are doing something different so I need to keep learning and giving feedback so the team can get the information they need too. I hope they feel they can use me now.
Q. What are your long term goals for after this test?
PDR: The goal was to get this test done and then see. I don't have any concrete plans for next year but I hope that I can build a solid relationship with Force India for the future off the back of this test. For sure there is a lot of potential in the DTM and after this test I need to sit down and look at what I want to do and where I want to go.