Recently-crowned 2010 DTM Champion Paul di Resta has received a ringing endorsement as he strives to gain a foothold on the grand prix grid next year, with two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti describing his fellow Scot as 'better' than new F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel.
di Resta is currently vying to secure one of the two available cockpits at Force India F1 in 2011, with 2010 pairing Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi and Williams refugee Nico Hülkenberg his principal rivals, though Sauber's Nick Heidfeld has also been mentioned. Indeed, until Hülkenberg became a candidate for one of the seats, di Resta was widely tipped to partner Sutil at the Silverstone-based squad next season.
The 24-year-old has served as FIF1 test and reserve driver this year – conducting Friday practice running for the team at eight of the 19 grands prix – and his DTM title success can do his chances of promotion to a race seat no harm at all.
What's more, when the pair were ASM Formule 3 team-mates in the F3 Euroseries back in 2006, di Resta pipped Vettel to the crown – and his cousin Franchitti contends that given equal equipment in F1, he would likely do so again.
“He definitely has the skills,” the 37-year-old triple IndyCar Series Champion told German publication Sport Bild
. “He is one of the most talented drivers I've ever seen – he beat Vettel in the F3 Euroseries. Sebastian is a good driver, but Paul is better.”
“Sebastian and I have had some ding-dong encounters, and I hope and feel sure that we can continue this in the F1 arena,” added di Resta in an interview with Motorsport-Magazin.com