Di Resta to race for Force India, H???lkenberg to test

2011 F1 season

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Paul di Resta, Adrian Sutil, Nico H???lkenberg, Force India, 2011

Paul di Resta will make his F1 debut with Force India in 2011.

The team confirmed the signing at a press conference for sponsor Whyte & Mackay in Glasgow following ending months of speculation.

Di Resta will take Vitantonio Liuzzi’s place at the team alongside Adrian Sutil, even though Liuzzi originally had a contract to race for the team in 2011.

Di Resta said:

[‘I’m] very excited for this, it’s great to be doing this in Glasgow, announcing this news. Last year I became third driver here and good things happened so here’s hoping we get more good things.

I’ve not set any ambitions for this year, I want to enjoy it but ForceIndia have plans and ambitions. I think Silverstone could be a personal highlight this year. [I’ve] had no advice from my family yet but sure they’ll offer it!
Paul di Resta

The team have also signed ex-Williams pilot Nico H???lkenberg as their test and reserve driver.

Team principal Vijay Mallya said:

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.

With Nico, signing him was too good an opportunity to let by. He showed a good racing head and talent and I was amazed by his control in Brazil last year. Together I think they are a formidable partnership and will help take us to the next level of performance.
Vijay Mallya

Force India issued the following Q&As:

Q&A with Adrian Sutil

You’re back with Force India for another season! What are your feelings about this?
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. 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 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.

What made you want to stay with the team?
Over the past four years we’ve made huge progress. When I started we were at the back of the grid and since then we’ve got stronger and stronger and are now achieving real results. Force India is now genuinely a strong midfield team, but it’s got plans to be even better: I’ve seen the plans for this year and it looks positive. The car will be quite strong, the team work well together and with the new regulations favouring smaller teams we should be in a good position for the future.

This will be your fifth season with Force India. What are the advantages of staying with a team for a longer period of time?
You know the team, you know the people, the procedures, the systems and how to get things done so it’s a very positive working environment as you can just get on with things. We know each other’s strengths and also weaknesses so everything you do happens very smoothly.

What can you achieve with Force India this year?
I was in the points a lot in the first half of 2010 and I want to keep that going until the end of the season this year. We were quick but it tailed off a little in the middle of the year so to be consistently quick and in the points has got to be the aim. The odd podium would also be very welcome!

Last year was your most successful season in F1 to date – what has helped you get to that point, do you think you have grown as a driver?
I’m obviously more experienced and now know when to push and when to hold back. I also know the circuits and the places you can overtake and how to get the best out of the car in them. Plus knowing your team and knowing they understand you gives a real psychological advantage.

You have two new team-mates this year, how do you think you will work together?
I’ve known Paul for the past year and we’ve got a good relationship. He did a really good job in the test driver seat last year and showed he’s quick and has a good technical feedback, but he is also open about what he’s done and how he felt we could improve. That’s really important for the team so it should work well. I know Nico relatively well and he seems like a good guy. Having a good test driver is positive as you know that in every area the team is strong.

As the most experienced F1 driver in the team now, do you feel there is a pressure on you to lead the team?
There’s no additional pressure from the team, they expect everyone to do a good job. The only pressure I feel is the one I put on myself to be as quick as I can.

What are your aims in F1?
Still the same as I had when I came in: to be quick, score points, podiums and wins, and eventually to be a world champion.

With the Indian GP coming up this year, will it be a special year to be with the team?
For sure. I have been to India several times with the team and have seen how the team and F1 are getting bigger and bigger. There’s now a real fan following and they have got behind the team. Being in a Force India car for the Indian GP is going to be very special and I hope I can do the fans and country proud.

Q&A with Paul di Resta

Paul, you are now a full-time, fully-fledged Formula 1 driver. What are your thoughts on making your F1 debut this year?
Naturally I am thrilled to be making my race debut this season. 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!

How have you been preparing for your first season?
I’ve been working on fitness to be completely ‘race fit’ and I’ll have some simulator sessions before the start of the testing programme. We will decide the days I will do very shortly, but I should be in the car at each of the tests to make sure the team and I have as much information as possible about the new car and its behaviour. I’ve been spending as much time as I can in the factory as well – even though I know the team very well from last season, I am strengthening those relationships so we function at our best level as a team.

You have stepped up from the test driver role, what do you think you’ll gain from that experience?
Obviously I know the team very well, and understanding how people work and the systems and procedures in place gives a real advantage as everything you do is improving, rather than learning from scratch. I will also know some of the circuits from my Friday experience so getting up to speed on those weekends will be quicker and easier. It’s an ideal position to be in when you make your race debut.

Which circuits are you looking forward to this year? How much experience do you have on some of them?
Silverstone will obviously be very special as it’s my home Grand Prix. Last year I was lucky enough to drive in the Friday practice session and was the first out on track so I could hear the crowd. The atmosphere was amazing so I’ll be geared up for that race. Equally all the circuits are special in some respects – Monza has the history, Belgium that incredible track and Singapore the lights. Really it will be about optimising every opportunity I have on and off track.

You’ll be the third British driver on the grid this year, but also joining some of the greatest names in British and Scottish motorsport. How does it feel to be stepping up to this level?
Britain has produced some great drivers over the years and Lewis and Jenson have really stood out in recent seasons as two back to back world champions. To be on the grid with them is pretty special. To then follow in the footsteps of some other great names – Jackie Stewart, Jim Clark for example – is a real honour and I hope that I will do justice to their achievements.

What will your aims be for the coming season?
Initially it will be to learn from the bottom up and create a solid foundation. Learn the tracks, understand the car and get the information everyone needs to achieve the ambitious goals we have set ourselves. To do this, we need to finish as many races as possible and to make sure that when we finish we’re in the points.

Have your family or anyone given you any advice?
They are all so pleased that I’ve been given this opportunity, but no one has told me what to do or what not to do, but I know that if I need some help or advice, all I need to do is ask. My father in particular has worked just as hard as I have to make this happen and to see his smile when we get to the grid in Bahrain will make me really proud.

Will you be competing in any other series this year, as you did last year, or will your attention be focussed on F1?
No, F1 will be my only series this year. With 20 races on the calendar, that doesn’t leave a lot of time to compete in anything else! I’ve waited a long time to get this chance and now all my efforts are going into this to be as successful as I can.

You’ve got two very quick team-mates, both of whom have F1 race experience. How do you think your respective talents will benefit each other?
Having two team-mates that have competed in F1 is an advantage as you have people who know the tracks, the business and how to deal with certain situations you only get when you are racing. Equally I hope that I can bring some experience from my outings last year, what I know about the team and a different perspective on things. I think we’ll complement each

Q&A with Nico H???lkenberg

Nico, you’re joining Force India in the test and reserve driver role this season. What are your feelings about starting your new job with the team?
I feel excited about my new home in F1. I am looking forward to working here and of course I am especially looking forward to driving the car for the first time. The team have made a huge leap forward within the last years and I want to be a part of the next step.

What can you bring to the team?
Last year was very important for me. I could gain lots of experience and had a good team-mate. I learned a lot from him on how to help developing a car in the right direction. I’m bringing a high level of motivation and will give my very best to be helpful for the team.

How will you keep yourself motivated this year as a test driver?
Well, of course I’d rather be a race driver, but the most important is that I stay within the F1 circus. Every driver wants to compete in races – that is what we are all driving for. But my motivation is to convince the team of my skills in order to be back in a race cockpit in 2012.

What will your plans be from now until the start of the season?
I will work with my physiotherapist for some days, work with the Force India engineers in the factory and drive the car a few days of the winter testing.

Have you been at the factory getting to know the team and the new engineering team you’ll work with?
Yes, I have. We had to do a seat fit and discuss some other things. The team left a very good impression and I think we will be a good combination and bring the team forward.

What do you make of your new team-mates?
These are two great guys. Adrian and I were direct competitors last year, I like him personally. Also Paul is a sympathetic guy and had a very successful career so far, he could bring some surprises to the team.

Video: Paul di Resta onjoining Force India

View the list of 2011 F1 drivers and teams.

Image ?? Force India F1 Team

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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118 comments on “Di Resta to race for Force India, H???lkenberg to test”

  1. Brilliant news! I’m so excited to see him race – it’ll be great. I hope, and predict, he can beat Sutil!

    1. Well Paul beats him on the haircut front already. What is Adrian thinking with that?

      1. I’m not one to judge… but he does look like he’s taking the Force India for a spin without his helmet…

        1. Jersey Shore??

  2. Excellent, nice to know it’s finally (officially) confirmed.

  3. nico should have replaced adrain :(

    1. Very true Nicko, but maybe with Di Resta’s path, the Hulk will most likely be there next year.

      1. I don’t think Nico should have replaced Adrian! Sutil has as much talent as Hulkenberg, if not more. Just you wait until he gets a good car…

        1. You really believe that? Nico was pretty quick and consistent towards the end of the year.

          Sutils been racing for years now and still isn’t consistent

        2. agreed damon, i think sutil could be a very quick driver given the right car….. a jenson button if you like, only quicker.

      2. I think Nico will be in that car (Di Resta’s) way before the season is over…

    2. What have I done wrong??? :-s

    3. Why, does Nico have leaky drain?

    4. Niko, no-one is doubting that Sutil has talent to be in Formula 1. But you said it yourself – he’s done a “decent” job. When has a driver ever gotten by on just being “decent”? Force India obviously see something in Paul di Resta, and looking at di Resta’s track record, I’m very much inclined to agree with them. He might have driven for a Mercedes works or Mercedes-backed team every year since 2005, and Norbert Haug might be trying to get Mallya to pick him up for a year, but with a resume like di Resta’s, it’s not so much a case of influencing the driver line-up as it is an endorsement. I’m all for an ethical Formula 1, but until such time as we know the conditions of Sutil’s contract and the clauses that allow Force India to break them, then if I’m being perfectly obvious, suggesting that he has a legal claim to the seat, is bordering a little on the absurd.

      Don’t get me wrong – I get exactly where you’re coming from. You obviously see something in Sutil just as I see something in Robert Kubika. I’ve spent many an hour justifying Kubika’s existence, even when people have felt I’ve gone over the edge. I admire the fact that you can get passionate about the sport, but looking at Sutil critically, I’m having a hard time coming to any conclusion other than that he has the spark, but he never set the world ablaze.

  4. Great news but do feel bad for Hulk not getting a race seat anywhere. But if any of the race driver fails then he may have a chance & he is still having the opportunity of driving the car on Friday.

    1. Latest tweet from Force India

      We know our friends over @whyteandmackay have dropped the bomb, but official word from us coming only at 8.30PM IST. Please bear with us! :P

      1. And then, six minutes later:

        It’s all VERY OFFICIAL NOW! Force India Racing Team 2011 Drivers are: Adrian Sutil & Paul DiResta with Nico Hülkenberg as reserve! WOOT! #F1

        Quite bonkers.

        1. I know team want PR or Coverage but that was really bonkers.

  5. Di Resta is a champion in the making, pleased he has got a chance.

    1. Ok mate just coz he is a Brit lets not start assuming he is a champion though yes he does deserve his seat.

      1. Well, my assumption is made on the fact that he beat Vettel in the lower categories. I don’t see at all how that relates to the fact that both he and I are British.

        1. Haven’t you heard? Around this site you’re automatically entirely biased if you’re british :/

          1. Clearly! It was an assumption for him/her to even think i’m British as well! [although, it has now been admitted above].

            I don’t understand. I’m like most normal Brits who naturally think everyone from their own country is rubbish (i.e. Andy Murray). We’re all cynical like that here! (at least down south anyway!)

          2. I am not british, but I am convinced I am biased as well. Please let me!

          3. Yeah, we Brits excel at assuming our sportsmen will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory…!!

            And sadly we’ve had The Ashes victory this year as well as Andy Murray getting through to the semi’s down-under so it’s unlikely Jenson or Lewis will be WDC this year…too much success and we can’t cope…

          4. I think it was Bill Bailey who was talking about being British, therefore craving disappointment. Which has been been brought on basically by centuries of rain.

        2. my assumption is made on the fact that he beat Vettel

          Badoer beat Barrichello, and Luca has the most races without points, Rubens has the most ever Grands Prix.

          1. Whether my assumption that Di Resta will become a future champion is true or not is completely irrelevant.

            What is relevant is that I used that as the basis for my decision to write that Di Resta will be a future champion, and not because of being British.

      2. I’m reading the reason he got the seat was it came with free KERS worth $6 miliion. so no matter how well he races he’s gonna lose that seat if someone else comes up wiith more money…

        1. Is your source certain some one with initials J.S

          1. yeah he’s REALLY not happy lol

            I think VJ must have stolen his sweets or something

          2. He is furious indeed, I can’t quite figure why though. It almost seems like he’s wanting to slap Mallya for something (ego, arrogance, disrepute, stupid – all’s been mentioned!). I really respect the guy, JS that is, but don’t see much reason in his fiery write up on this piece! Its always happened in F1 and will continue to happen, the team has to move forward and any team owner will place the good of the team in front of the driver..

        2. That is almost as much as the HRT drivers were bringing last year and Virgin is getting about 5 million from Jerome.

    2. Contracts have never meant anything in F1, we all know that. If the team want a driver then they will find a way, there will always be a get out clause hidden somewhere, its always been the case. The narain example is a good one, no other driver said a thing, its F1. I would 100% rather see hulk driving over sutil anyday, remember he beat Vettel who everyone raves about in the same team and car. Do you think sutil would have managed that, No.

      Bring on Di Resta.

  6. Great for Paul, but so sad for Hulk!

    Sack Sutil, man! Hulk-Di Resta would be awesome!

  7. brilliant news, he and sutil will have to be on thier toes mind. hulkenburg is a top quality driver, and if either of them is showing any signs of weakness or poor form i wouldn’t be at all suprised to see the hulk step in.

    great driver line up in an improving team, i think they could be this seasons renault.

    1. great driver line up in an improving team, i think they could be this seasons renault.

      Pity alot of FI’s technical people have been leaving…

      I’m not expecting a great deal from FI this year.

      Good luck to Di Resta. Will be interesting to see how he goes, since he’s not raced open wheelers for 5 years. But if he does start beating Sutil this year, I would think Sutil will be going the way of Liuzzi.

      1. oops! Sorry. The first paragraph is a quote by owain – the rest is my opinion.

  8. So pleased for him. I think we’ll have to wait a few races to truly assess him as a F1 driver, race craft I mean.

    Will be intresting when we find out were Liuzzi ends up.

    1. Only HRT is available now and they would do well to hire him.

      1. I would expect HRT to get Liuzzi, especially as Mallya would have had to do something to get him out of his contract, so he would support that move.

    2. HRT ……… he was int hey league last year

  9. Does anyone know if Hulkenberg will drive on Friday’s?

    1. Probably yes, that’s the only thing he can be happy about.

      1. Still, it puts a few coins in his pocket!

      2. Not the only thing, he will get some winter testing as well :-o

        If he really learnt as much from Barricello about car development and setup, that might be a real boost for the team to get him in their car on friday to put in a base line setup.

  10. I haven’t seen confirmation of Sutil being retained, or did I miss that? I reckon, if neither Sutil nor Liuzzi are confirmed, both are still in contention.

    1. Force India tweet:

      It’s all VERY OFFICIAL NOW! Force India Racing Team 2011 Drivers are: Adrian Sutil & Paul DiResta with Nico Hülkenberg as reserve! WOOT! #F1

  11. There’s bucketloads of pressure on this guy. To grab a seat as a rookie ahead of Liuzzi and Hulkenberg. Being British always ramps things up a few notches. He’s been praised/hyped by a few teams no, DTM Champion and Mercedes boy etc… wish him the best of luck!

    Oh yeah, he’s also the cousin of Dario Franchitti, so the family will be expecting some good things too :P

  12. So… Force India’s worst kept secret!

    Is Mercedes pulling the strings or Vijay Mallaya?

    I wonder where Tonio Liuzzi might end up?
    Mercedes compensating him with a DTM race seat (Jahreswagen) and Mercedes GP test seat?

    No way Vijya will refund him for not racing in F1 this year.
    And no way Tonio will race @ HRT for Kolles.

    Aah welcome to the Piranha Club! Dog eat dog…

    1. Perhaps the Scottish influence of the sponsors, Whyte & Mackay, played a part also.

      I do think Paul deserves his shot though. After a few races, hopefully Paul will outrace Sutil and they drop him in favour of Nico

      1. Whyte & Mackay are also owned by Vijay Mallya.

        1. That Indian has lots of money *grin*

      2. Whyte & Mackay is owned by mallya so i dont think sponsor played part here

        1. Its the free KERS system from Mercedes that has played a part.

    2. or fish eat fish?

    3. Why wouldn’t Liuzzi race for HRT?

    4. Man let me tell you ….mno one pulls Vijay Mallyas strings he is a very smart buisness he is for sure making somehing out of this to his benifit

  13. Joe Saward will be furious…

      1. Wow. The fact that he can’t recognize his own bias is too bad for him. If he weren’t biased he would have been equally outraged by the “injustice” of so many other F1 firings. As it is, he just comes off sounding like a lunatic. How does he know Liuzzi hasn’t already been paid off by Mallya or lined up to race for HRT? His comments further down the page just get more and more defensive and embarrassing. Too bad he can’t take off his Liuzzi colored spectacles.

        1. read his reply’s to peoples comments, there hilarious! :D

        2. “The fact that he can’t recognize his own bias is too bad for him.”

          Dunno about that. I think you’re mistaking a blog for journalism. JS is a journo, yes, but he’s writing a blog containing his own opinions – he is not beholden to the rules of journalism on that website. Plus, he has clearly stated on many occasions that he has a soft spot for Liuzzi. Seems pretty transparent to me.

          1. Oh, I wasn’t saying it’s not transparent. It’s like glass. His argument, however, that he’s outraged because of the ethics