Q & A with Paul di Resta

Paul di Resta may have settled into life as a DTM title contender in recent years, but he has never given up on getting into Formula 1

Q & A with Paul di Resta

Speaking on the main stage at the AUTOSPORT International show today, the Scot revealed that he was on the brink of a Force India role following his impressive test for the team last winter.

Q. You tested for Force India at Jerez in December during the young driver days. It went very well, didn't it?

Paul di Resta: Yeah. We had a very difficult year in the DTM last year. It did not get off to the best start but then, during the year, we started talking to Force India. And thankfully they gave me an opportunity to go down to Jerez and do three half days in the car.

It was a big opportunity and something I have waited a long time to do, to get a serious chance to drive the car, and it was very productive. We came out very strong and also moved forward and built a relationship with Force India.

Q. It took you a while to readjust from what is relatively-speaking a very heavy, not very powerful touring car, were you able to make the transition quickly?

PdR: Yeah. I even surprised myself in some ways. I had not driven a single seater in a year, since a GP2 test I did at the end of 2008. But it came to me pretty quickly. I had a short time in the simulator before, which for sure bought me up to speed a bit more, but an F1 car is about getting over the comfort zone and when you go over this you start to see the results and really get the feeling for what it is about.

Q. It is very difficult these days for young guys to get an opportunity and get mileage in a GP car because the restrictions are so tight...

PdR: It is a bit of a difficult one just now. The more and more series that keep bringing in testing bans, from DTM to F1, it is getting harder for newcomers. These three days in Jerez were very well done, very well managed and there were no big serious dramas during test, no red flags. It worked very well and I think the teams really saw a benefit from it. They were able to run their programmes and let the young guys who are up and coming get a chance to show them what they can do and also gain the experience.

Q. Where are you at now with the dialogue with Vijay Mallya and Force India regarding a reserve driver role?

PdR: Things are moving along quite strong. Since the test for sure we have been in talks, and I would say we are about 90 per cent there. We are in the final stages of finishing off for the programme they have set and hopefully we can build a very long and strong relationship for me to try and race with Force India in the future.

Q. It would not offer you much mileage in the car, but what it would do is put you in pole position to step in something happened to either of the team's race drivers?

PdR: The two drivers they have - Adrian [Sutil] did a very good job last year. And also Tonio [Liuzzi]. It is a fight to get a seat, and I am going to try and fight for that - and try to prove to Force India that I am capable of getting in that car and doing the same job they can if not better.

Q. What about DTM? If the F1 thing doesn't happen this time, will you be back in touring cars?

PdR: I am not really sure what the future is going to hold. But I have a very good relationship with Mercedes. I did five years with then - two years in Euro F3 and three in the DTM. They have all been very successful and we've moved forward.

I have a relationship with some people in the team that is very close. I can always say that I'm sure, going back there, we could equally do the same job again. But things move on and we just have to see where we can be in the next few years.

Q. Does your relationship with McLaren bring you closer to McLaren and Mercedes GP?

PdR: Yes, I suppose it has. I have had a very good relationship with McLaren over the last three years, since I have been in DTM. I did some running with McLaren, some aero testing and some small system checks and stuff. So I have a good relationship with McLaren. They have been very good to me and equally I would love to drive for them one day.

And with Mercedes, with Norbert [Haug] taking over, I am sure Norbert knows what I am capable of and we for sure want to build a relationship with Mercedes wherever that is going to be.

Q. As someone on the fringes of F1, and looking to get involved, what do you see?

PdR: I am speaking to a lot of people on this, and I think this is going to be the best year in F1. You only have to see the names of some of the guys in the top teams, and I don't have to mention them.

But also the new teams coming in - who is going to be the best of the new teams? Also it gives the teams who have not got the budget to be at the front, it gives them something more to race for, and something more or less to achieve. I think it is going to be exciting. It is difficult to judge going into it, but it is going to start very soon and it is going to be a waiting game.

shares
comments
Di Resta close to Force India role

Previous article

Di Resta close to Force India role

Next article

Button: Strong start to season is vital

Button: Strong start to season is vital
Load comments
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021
Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems Plus

Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening day of action for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, on the Istanbul circuit’s much improved track surface. But the Black Arrows squad’s position isn’t quite what it seems. Here’s why

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021