• Australian Grand Prix

Di Resta keen to impress

ESPNF1 Staff
March 23, 2010 « Late Melbourne start potentially 'dangerous' - Button | »
Paul di Resta is looking forward to track time in Melbourne © Sutton Images
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Paul di Resta will take another step towards his Formula One dream when he takes to the Albert Park circuit in his Force India car on Friday.

The Scot will take the place of Adrian Sutil during Friday's first free practice session as part of his contract as the team's reserve and test driver. Because he did not get behind the wheel of his car in Bahrain, di Resta is determined to make the most of his opportunity.

"I want to be more involved," he said. "I saw the cars going down the pitlane and on the track, and that's where I want to be and what I want to achieve in my time here. Force India is very serious about developing me as a driver.

"You don't get much track time in Formula One any more as a test or reserve driver, so it's going to bring me up to speed. I'll have a better understanding of how a grand prix weekend works and it will give me an understanding of learning tracks and feeling more comfortable and gaining some valuable running for the future."

With first team drivers Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi unlikely to be ousted in the immediate future, di Resta knows he will have to wait patiently for his chance.

"The further you go up the ladder the closer you are to being part of the team," he added. "I'm as close as I'm going to be to actually getting a role. I'm here to try and impress these guys. At the end of the day I've got to deliver on my performances for them to take a chance and put me in the car. I believe I can make the step given the chance. At the moment I'm learning all I can so when I do get the chance I'm best prepared as possible."

Away from his test driving duties for Force India, di Resta will continue to compete for Mercedes in DTM as the two calendars fortunately do not clash. It is his fourth season in the championship since winning the Formula 3 Euroseries title in 2006 from one of F1's current stars, then team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

"We were team-mates, he is a great guy, and he's done very well in Formula One, but equally I beat him in the Formula Three Euroseries. It will be nice to be up racing against him at the front one day, and hopefully for future championships."

Team boss Vijay Mallya said the regular drivers Sutil and Liuzzi were supportive of di Resta's involvement.

"Paul is a very good driver and has a lot of potential," he said. "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 one time."