Di Resta to race for Force India in 2011 26 Jan 2011
Reigning DTM champion Paul di Resta will partner Adrian Sutil at Force India in 2011, it was confirmed at a press conference in Scotland on Wednesday. Di Resta, who was the teams third driver during 2010, will take to the grid for the first time at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
Naturally I am thrilled to be making my race debut this season, the Scottish driver said during the Glasgow media event. Becoming an F1 driver has been a long-held ambition of mine, something I've wanted to do since I first stepped into a kart, and to finally realise it feels amazing.
"I've worked really hard for this opportunity throughout my career and to get it with Force India, a young team that's got ambitions as big as mine, is genuinely exciting. I can't wait to be on the grid in Bahrain, it can't come soon enough.
The 24 year-old learnt his race craft in karting, Formula Renault, the Formula Three Euroseries, and DTM, before finally enjoying title-winning success in the ultra-competitive German touring car series in 2010. As Force Indias reserve driver, he took part in eight Friday practice sessions last season and racked up more laps during the winter tests in Abu Dhabi late last year.
Di Restas team mate for 2011, Adrian Sutil, enjoyed his most successful Formula One season last year, securing 47 points to help Force India to seventh position in the constructors' championship. Sutil clinched nine points-scoring positions, including fifth at the Malaysian Grand Prix. The forthcoming season will be his fifth with the Silverstone-based team.
I made my F1 debut with the team back in 2007 and we've worked together since then, so to stay for another year here feels very right, said the 27 year-old German. I've always said that I feel good in this team, it feels like family and when you feel good, you are confident and can push to your maximum.
"We've made some good progress together over the past four years and I'm excited to be part of the team when it takes the next step, which is hopefully to become a front running team. We have the same ambitions so it makes a lot of sense to achieve them together.
Force India team principal Dr Vijay Mallya was just as excited about the year ahead, saying: I am genuinely excited by the drivers we will be fielding in 2011. I believe that the combination of talent we've assembled gives us one of the strongest line-ups on the grid: Adrian has matured into one of F1's most consistent and highly-rated young drivers, while Paul is, I believe, a real star of the future. He has won in every category in his career and this base speed was in evidence when he got in the car on Fridays last year.
Force India also confirmed that 2010 Williams driver Nico Hulkenberg will step into Di Resta's shoes as their third driver. Hulkenberg enjoyed a successful debut year, scoring pole position at the 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix, but was replaced by Pastor Maldonado for 2011.
I am happy I can stay in F1 in 2011, said the young German. I am looking forward to working with Force India and I am sure the team will continue improving in the future. I appreciate the team trusting me by signing a long-term contract. I will do my very best to live up to expectations.
The changes at Force India mean 2010 racer Vitantonio Liuzzi is left without a confirmed drive for the new season, with just one seat - at HRT - still to be filled.
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