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Friday drive for Force India's Di Resta in Australia 23 Mar 2010

Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India F1 Third Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Practice Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Friday, 12 March 2010 Paul Di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM03. Formula One Testing, Day One, Jerez, Spain, Wednesday 17 February 2010.

Force India’s test and reserve driver Paul di Resta will make his Formula One practice debut in Australia on Friday. Di Resta will replace Adrian Sutil during the opening practice session at Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit, as he seeks to gain further track time and experience behind the wheel of the team’s VJM03.

“Paul is a very good driver and has a lot of potential,” explained team principal Vijay Mallya. “But as a third driver the question is how he can use this potential if there's no testing in-season. This is a good solution all round, he can learn the car and the tracks in real time and therefore spend his simulator time helping to develop the car, which will be of real benefit to us. The race drivers are very supportive of the move - they've all been young drivers at one time!”

The Scottish driver, who finished third overall with one win in the 2009 DTM championship, took charge of the VJM03 during two pre-season test days in February. He previously won the 2006 Formula Three Euroseries and was awarded the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award in 2004.

“I feel ready and can't wait to get started; it's a great opportunity,” said the 23 year-old. “I've been in the simulator, tried to learn the Albert Park layout and I've looked over all the information from Bahrain so I feel as prepared as I can be at this stage. When we get to Australia, I'll be walking the track, working with the engineers and then keeping my focus during the practice session.

“I am excited, for sure. Given the pace of the car in Bahrain it's a great opportunity for me. At the end of the day I'm not going to come out and try and set fastest times - it's about feeding my information back into the race schedule, helping the team and learning as much as I can. If I set a good time, great, but we need to approach this as a team as well and work through our programme.”

Friday’s first practice session in Melbourne will get underway at 1230 hours local time.