Paul di Resta admits he is delighted to have been confirmed as a Force India race driver for the 2011 F1 season.
Having held the role of test and reserve driver with the Silverstone-based squad last year, the newly-crowned DTM title winner will step up into a race seat for the new campaign after the team agreed terms to release Tonio Liuzzi from his contract.
It had been reported for some time that di Resta was likely to earn a race seat, with Liuzzi's contract being the only issue holding up the confirmation of the new deal, but with the news now confirmed, the Scot said he couldn't wait for the season opener in Bahrain.
“Naturally, I am thrilled to be making my race debut this season,” he said. “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.”
Unlike some of his fellow rookies on the grid – such as Sergio Perez and Pastor Maldonado – di Resta will head into the new campaign having completed extensive F1 running last year and he admitted that his Friday outings last year would be advantage.
“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,” he said. “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.
“Initially [my aim] 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.”
Di Resta added that he was keen to learn from team-mates Adrian Sutil and Nico Hulkenberg, both of whom have experience of racing in F1.
“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,” he said. “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 other well.”