Paul di Resta has revealed that 'things are moving forward' with regard to a potential F1 future with Force India and that he is 'nearly there' now - as he bids to get his foot in the door off the back of a hugely promising testing appearance for the Silverstone-based squad at Jerez back in December.

Force India was indisputably one of the biggest improvers of last season in the top flight, progressing from neither car managing to make it beyond the Q1 stage of qualifying in the initial stages to Giancarlo Fisichella sensationally putting his Mercedes-powered VJM02 on pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps in September, and damn near winning the race the following day.

As it was, Kimi Raikkonen made use of an early safety car period and the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) 'power boost' button in his Ferrari to breeze past and narrowly steal the victory, but still second place was a landmark achievement - and team-mate Adrian Sutil very nearly matched that form a fortnight later in annexing a front row grid spot for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

The improvement might not have been maintained everywhere, but nonetheless FIF1 ended the campaign regarded in a very different manner to that in which it had set out. Whilst Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi are already firmly ensconced in the two cockpits for 2010, the test and reserve role remains unclaimed - and di Resta clearly wants a piece of it.

Invited to try out for the team alongside reigning Indy Lights Champion J.R. Hildebrand as part of the special F1 young driver test at Jerez a month-and-a-half ago, the young Scot was palpably the quicker of the pair - to the tune of more than a second on each of the three days - and even more impressively still, he was never outside the top four on the end-of-day timesheets, lapping a superb second-quickest on the first and last days. As job interviews go, it was pretty flawless.

"It was a huge opportunity, and I've got to thank Force India for giving me that chance," reflected the 23-year-old Mercedes-Benz prot?g?, speaking exclusively to Crash.net Radio. "It was a big thing for me to drive the car; I've waited a long time to achieve it. I think it was quite a successful three days, both from my point-of-view in terms of learning the car, and from Force India's side in getting on with their development for this year.

"I think for them it gave them a bit of an idea of where they had improved from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. I got up-to-speed relatively quickly, and we were able to get straight into the programme on the second run. I think Force India learned quite a lot, and I learned a lot about how they work and how things are going to change for 2010.

"When we were running, we were always at the front, whether it was long runs or short runs or whatever. I'm trying to build a future with Force India. They've got a reserve driver role up for grabs and I'm going to try to get it, which hopefully in the future will turn into a race drive."

Admitting to being 'in talks' and '90 per cent' of the way towards sealing the deal - whilst acknowledging that the limited amount of testing mileage in F1 nowadays does not make things easy - in terms of getting his foot in the door in a sport that is famously difficult to break into, successfully securing the position would nevertheless be almost akin to finding the Holy Grail.

Though refusing to comment upon whether or not he is likely to remain in pan-European touring car series the DTM for a fourth consecutive campaign this year - he has said he wants to clinch the crown before moving on, having finished respectively fifth, second and third to-date - it seems evident that things are shaping up very nicely indeed for Paul di Resta in 2010.

"I see any step in Formula 1 as being one step up the staircase," concluded the West Lothian ace, who four years ago defeated the likes of 2009 F1 stars Sebastian Vettel, Kazuki Nakajima, Kamui Kobayashi, S?bastien Buemi and Romain Grosjean amongst others to lift the prestigious F3 Euroseries trophy. "It's very difficult these days, and you have to be in there to have a chance to progress onwards. Clearly, my aim is to get in there.

"We're still trying to negotiate with Force India as to exactly what the programme is going to be for me in 2010. At this stage that's undecided. It's difficult to say what's going to happen, but things are moving forward and we're nearly there."

di Resta's only previous experience of driving a grand prix car had been an outing for McLaren-Mercedes as a reward for his clinching the 2005 McLaren/Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award. Fellow recipient and DTM front-runner Gary Paffett has confirmed that he will remain on-board at the Woking-based outfit as an F1 test driver in 2010.

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