Force India to test Di Resta and Hildebrand at Jerez 24 Nov 2009
Force India have confirmed their line-up for next weeks young driver test in Spain. Upcoming British driver Paul di Resta and current Indy Lights champion American JR Hildebrand will share driving duties of the VJM02 at Jerez.
Twenty-three year old Di Resta and 21-year old Hildebrand were selected after strong performances in the team's simulator last month and one could now land a full-time test and reserve role for 2010.
Di Resta, from West Lothian, Scotland, is a Mercedes works driver in the German DTM touring car series and finished third overall with one win in the 2009 championship. He previously won the 2006 Formula 3 Euroseries against a field including current F1 race winner Sebastian Vettel and in 2004 was awarded the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award.
I am thrilled to be joining Force India for this test, said Di Resta. It's been a while since I last tested an F1 car but I've been working hard in the simulator and giving it my all in the DTM so I'm confident I'll be up to speed quickly. It's an exciting opportunity for me as F1 has always been my dream and I feel this is taking me one step closer to achieving it. I'm realistic that I've got a lot to prove and that I need a bit more experience of the cars and the F1 environment before getting a permanent seat but this is just the beginning of what I hope will be a very bright future with Force India. I'd like to thank Mercedes for giving me this opportunity and to Force India for being so supportive.
Hildebrand, from California, USA, has quickly risen to prominence on the American racing scene thanks to impressive results in the junior formulae and, most recently, his victory in Indy Lights, the feeder series to the USA's premier racing championship. In 2006 he secured the Formula Ford 2000 championship title and in 2007 was the top placed US rookie in the Atlantic championship.
I'm ecstatic to get my first taste of F1, said Hildebrand. I've heard so much about the performance of the cars and know this is going to be quicker and more responsive than anything I've ever sat in before. I know it's a big challenge but I feel ready to tackle it. The aim is to learn the track and the car and then hopefully show my potential. As an American we don't necessarily have the culture of F1 but anything that's so impressive and cutting-edge demands respect. I hope I can do the car and myself justice. Thanks to everyone for making this happen, I can't wait to get to Jerez.
Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal of Force India, commented: We are delighted to have Paul and JR join us for the young driver test. Both of their showings in the simulator were excellent and we had no hesitations in offering them some valuable testing. We will be looking at their performance on track very closely and should they perform well, as we are confident they will, we will look at a permanent role for one within the team in 2010, potentially as a test and reserve driver. As a young team we are looking for drivers who can grow with us. As we've always said, nationality isn't the primary selection criteria - it's talent and dedication to the cause and we have seen enough to know that these two have both.
The Jerez session, to be attended by several teams, will run from Tuesday 1 December to Thursday 3 December. Force India will test Di Resta on day one, Hildebrand on day two, with the driver for the final day dependant on the progress of the teams testing programme.