- Full name Paul di Resta
- Birth date April 16, 1986
- Birthplace Uphall, West Lothian, Great Britain
- Current age 29 years 104 days
- Height 1.85 m
- Weight 74 kg
- Teams Force India
|First race||Australian Grand Prix||Albert Park||March 27, 2011||Race results|
|Last race||Brazilian Grand Prix||Interlagos||November 24, 2013||Race results|
After a long wait on the sidelines watching his old sparring partners promoted ahead of him, Paul di Resta finally got the chance in F1 that so many believed he deserved in 2011. His impressive rookie season saw his Force India contract extended for 2012, although he was overlooked for a seat at one of the top teams for 2013.
He started karting competitively in Scotland at the age of eight, following in the footsteps of his older cousin and two-time IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti. By 16 he had progressed into Formula Renault UK and took a race victory in his first full championship attempt in 2003. More wins in his second season led to a seat in European Formula 3 for 2005 where he was pitched against Lewis Hamilton, Adrian Sutil and Sebastian Vettel.
He finished tenth in his rookie year, but a move to Hamilton's championship-winning team in 2006 saw him romp to the championship ahead of future F1 drivers Vettel, Kamui Kobayashi, Kazuki Nakajima, Sebastien Buemi and Romain Grosjean. He looked good enough to follow Hamilton and the rest on the road to F1, but instead his career took off on an alternative tangent.
Instead of scraping together enough sponsorship for a seat in GP2, di Resta accepted an offer from Mercedes to drive in the DTM. He was immediately quick and driving a two-year old car he finished fifth in the championship overall. In 2008 he was given an up-to-date C-Class, and with two wins pushed experienced Audi driver Timo Scheider to within four points of the title. In recognition of his performances he was gifted a private four-day test with McLaren at Silverstone.
He impressed McLaren, but with no F1 seats available to him he had to go back to the DTM for the 2009 season. He finished third overall, behind Mercedes team-mate Gary Paffett, but it was becoming clear that he wanted to make a more permanent move to F1. His Mercedes ties secured him a test at Force India, and on the back of a solid performance he was announced as the team's reserve driver with Friday testing duties at race weekends in 2010. He continued to race in DTM and duly won the title despite his focus being split between two series.
His Friday morning practice sessions impressed Force India and at the end of the season it set about finding a way for him to replace contracted race driver Tonio Liuzzi. After several months of negotiations, Liuzzi was out and di Resta was in, giving the Scot a full schedule of pre-season testing to get used to the new tyres and car.
As the season got underway in Australia he scored a point on his debut, but the car was off the pace of the other midfield runners. As the year progressed it improved and di Resta showed his class with a sixth place in Singapore as well as six other points finishes.
His second year was equally solid and his best result again came in Singapore with a fourth place finish. However, by the end of the year he was being outperformed by team-mate Nico Hulkenberg and although both were considered for a move to McLaren to replace Lewis Hamilton in 2013, it was Sauber's Sergio Perez who landed the drive.
Strengths and Weaknesses
He is clearly a quick driver and has only retired from four races in his last three seasons of racing. He would have likely made it to F1 earlier had he received the same financial backing as his contemporaries Vettel, Hamilton and Buemi.
Winning the 2006 F3 Euroseries, a title that should have put him on the fast track to F1.
Having to return to the DTM for a third year in 2009, while drivers he beat in lower categories were winning races in Formula One.
In response to a question about Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, he said: "I don't want to sound big-headed, but I wasn't racing them when they won their championships."
Alongside his racing career, di Resta is also a director of his family's leisure firm. The company owns several establishments in West Lothian, including the Twig nightclub in Bathgate.