For the second race in succession, Force India F1 test and reserve driver Paul di Resta will not take part in opening practice for this weekend's Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul due to what he describes as some 'pretty exciting' developments to the Silverstone-based squad's VJM03.
Having participated in free practice in Australia, Malaysia, China and Spain – placing an impressive eleventh on his debut Down Under in Melbourne – the Scot subsequently had to sit out Monaco just under a fortnight ago, but he acknowledged that his experience of the jewel in F1's glittering crown was nonetheless 'really something special'.
“It was a good week, with the weather, the yachts, the atmosphere and then these super-quick cars racing round some of the world's most recognisable buildings,” the 24-year-old enthused. “It really was something else.
“From a racing perspective, it was interesting to see how the team has to approach each session with regards to traffic and how the drivers have to focus every single second to keep it out of the wall to get as much track time as possible, which is crucial to going well round there. Adrian [Sutil] and Tonio [Liuzzi] did some good work on Thursday, and we saw the results on Saturday and then in the race. It was a great result for the team.”
The work conducted by Sutil and Liuzzi in Monte Carlo, however, evidently needs to be continued in Turkey, where di Resta was due to reprise his practice role – only for a change of plan to be necessitated to enable the team's two regular drivers to gain as much knowledge as possible of FIF1's updates for the race.
“It was a late call from the team, but I completely understand their decision as there are some new upgrades coming through this race that really need the drivers' and the team's attention,” reflected the multiple DTM race-winner and former F3 Euroseries Champion. “I'll still be there in the garage, trying to learn as much as I can as the developments are pretty exciting.
“I've still done all the groundwork, going in the simulator for some running as I've never driven Istanbul Park before. It's a pretty busy time of the year for me as well – with the DTM race in Valencia between Monaco and Turkey – but it's keeping me sharp and focussed on racing, which is the best possible situation for me right now.”