PAUL DI RESTA JOINS FORCE INDIA SET-UP
BRDC full Member, Paul di Resta has moved a step closer to becoming the latest Briton to compete in Formula One after joining the Force India set-up this season.
The 23-year-old Scot has been confirmed as their test and reserve driver after impressing in the young driver test in Jerez in December.
He said: "I am ecstatic to finally get the chance to move into F1. I'm pleased I can start my F1 career with Force India, a team that has a lot of potential."
Paul will also continue to race in Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) this year but will attend all 19 grands prix this season and has been promised track time as he will be allowed to run in Friday practice sessions.
"I see this move as taking me one step closer to achieving my dream of racing in F1, but I know I have a lot to learn in terms of the car and the tracks right now," he said.
"I think this programme is a perfect way to prepare fully and be ready to go if and when the chance of a race seat comes. I hope this will be the start of a long-term future with Force India."
There is every prospect of Paul racing against Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton this year as Force India's race drivers Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi are understood to be under pressure to produce results.
For now, Paul will have to bide his time, although he is highly rated by team principal Vijay Mallya. "We are very proud to have someone of Paul's calibre joining the team as his potential was clear in the test and he has the right attitude for making it in F1," remarked Mallya.
"The programme we have put together will allow him to get to grips with the car, the team and the environment and various pressures associated with F1. We look forward to this becoming a very fruitful partnership."
Paul, a cousin of reigning Indy car champion and full Member Dario Franchitti, performed well against his rival for the test berth, the American JR Hildebrand, during the young driver test at Jerez in Spain in December.
The Scot, from Bathgate in West Lothian, began his career in karting before moving into British Formula Renault and then the Formula Three Euroseries. He beat present Formula 1 Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel to the title in 2006 and moved to the DTM championship in 2007.
Paul has previously been linked with a move to F1 with McLaren Mercedes and Virgin Racing. Now, as a test driver, it brings him within touching distance of following fellow Euroseries graduates Vettel, Nico Rosberg and Hamilton into an F1 race car.
Now he is part of Force India, who finished ninth in the F1 championship last season, for the new campaign that begins next month in Bahrain.