F1 » 14 January 2013
di Resta still to learn identity of 2013 team-mate
Paul di Resta may not know the man who will be partnering him at Force India this year, but remains confident that the team can fight for fifth place.
Paul di Resta insists that he knows as much as the next man when it comes to the identity of the driver who will be partnering him in the Force India team this season.
Nico Hulkenberg's defection to Sauber has left the Scot facing the prospect of lining up with a third different partner in as many seasons, but he claims that he is no closer to knowing who that will be than he was before Christmas, when the Silverstone-based squad had hinted that there may have been an announcement.
Jules Bianchi remains the frontrunner to partner di Resta following a season spent as Force India's reserve, while Bruno Senna and Luiz Razia have also been mentioned in connection with the seat.
The only name that would not present the Scot with a newcomer alongside him this season is Adrian Sutil, who has pushed himself back into consideration following a year in exile following his much-publicised 'bust-up' with Genii's Eric Lux at the 2011 Chinese Grand Prix. Force India is scheduled to unveil its new car – and its line-up – on 1 February.
"I am surprised there has been nothing yet," di Resta was quoted by Sky Sports following his visit to the Autosport International exhibition at the weekend, "The team have said they will announce it in good time, and I have to respect that."
Although both di Resta and Hulkenberg were mentioned in connection with possible openings at Ferrari and McLaren for this season, it was the German's star in the ascendancy at the end of the 2012 campaign, leaving di Resta hoping that he can emerge from a disappointing conclusion and bounce back in 2013.
"I'm feeling quite good about it, very positive,” he claimed, “I've been at the factory and the vibe is very high.
"For whatever reason nothing went the right way at the end of last season [and], essentially, you always remember the end of a year more than the beginning. There were some good drives, some good pace, but it just never worked out.
"But I've been through times like that where you just need to dig deep, and eventually you get out of it. Obviously, when something bad happens, you just want to get back in the car the next week and go again, but there has been this lull, [so] all I can say is that I'm looking forward to getting in the car on the first of February, and then testing again a few days later."
Di Resta believes, even without knowing the identity of his team-mate, that Force India can better the sixth place it took in the 2011 constructors' championship, and move back ahead of Sauber, having seen the Swiss squad usurp it last year.
"Hopefully, we'll be in the mix - it should be a good season and I hope it's as competitive as it was last year,” he concluded, "The team can achieve fifth [place], but, for that to happen, everyone has to be 100 per cent. I have faith that they can achieve that if they want to, but you know we're going to be taking on world championship teams if we get to that point.”
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