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Force India signs di Resta to test

ESPNF1 Staff
February 2, 2010 « Schumacher takes medical team to Valencia | »
After impressing at the young driver tests Paul di Resta has secured the reserve role at Force India © Sutton Images
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Force India has completed its driver line-up by signing Scottish driver Paul di Resta as its test driver for 2010.

The 23-year-old, who impressed the team during the young driver tests at Jerez in December, will travel to every race with the team as well as continuing to compete in the DTM [German sports car] series. To circumvent the ban on in-season testing, the team has also announced that he will take part in many of the Friday practice sessions.

Di Resta, whose contract was announced during a press conference at Force India's principal sponsor Whyte & Mackay's Glasgow headquarters on Tuesday, said: 'I am ecstatic to finally get the chance to move into F1 at last. I'm pleased I can start my F1 career with Force India, a team that has a lot of potential. I see this move as taking me one step closer to achieving my dream of racing in F1 but I know I have a lot to learn in terms of the car and the tracks right now. I think this programme is a perfect way to prepare fully and be ready to go if and when the chance of a race seat comes. I hope this will be the start of a long-term future with Force India."

Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India's chairman and team principal, said: "I would like to thank both Paul and JR Hildebrand for their commitment at the test in Jerez. Both worked very hard and were impressive. We are very proud to have someone of Paul's calibre joining the team as his potential was clear in the test and he has the right attitude for making it in F1. The programme we have put together will allow him to get to grips with the car, the team and the environment and various pressures associated with F1."

The move to run di Resta in Friday practice makes use of a previously unexploited rule that allows teams to run additional drivers during the first two sessions of the race weekend.

Rule 19.1b of the sporting regulations states that an additional driver can run, so long as the stewards are informed of the cars and drivers the team intends to use before the session. The team must also not use more than two drivers in any one session, while ensuring the car carries the number of the race driver who is being replaced, and the correct tyre, gear box and engine allocation for that car.

Although this move will mean less track time for race drivers Tonio Liuzzi and Adrian Sutil, it is a clever move that will ensure di Resta is at home in the car should he be required. The rules for 2010 state that, should di Resta be called upon to race, he will still be permitted his day's rookie testing.