Paul di Resta admits that the Sahara Force India team has to get out of the blocks better than it did in 2012 if it is to challenge for a top spot in the F1 standings this year.
Speaking at the launch of the team's new VJM06 car at Silverstone, the Scot – who remains the only confirmed driver ahead of pre-season testing in Jerez next week – reflected on missed opportunities in the various 'flyaway' races that opened the 2012 campaign, before picking up pace as the year went on. Force India fell short of retaining the sixth place overall that it achieved in 2011, as Sauber edged it by 17 points over the 20-race season.
“That has to happen and there's no reason why we shouldn't,” di Resta said of making a better start to 2013, “I think the pressure is on all the departments to make sure we start better as, last year, we underperformed, certainly until the European season kicked in.
“We did get some good results before that – in the rain in Malaysia and in Bahrain - where we just got everything together and managed to achieve something remarkable that early in the season.
“We need to launch a car, understand it, and bring a race package to it – whether that's at the Barcelona test or in Melbourne – that needs to make the car quicker than when it rolled out on the first day.
Before the new car turned a wheel on track immediately after its unveiling, di Resta said that he was looking forward to the new season, despite only a short break since his 2012 campaign ended in the wall at Interlagos.
“I'm feeling very good, I must say,” the Scot commented, “I'm working very closely with my team of people. We're all trying to do the best job possible. Whether it's managing time and making sure you're in the best frame of mind or whether that's on-track performance and the finer details of the car set-up, ultimately it's all about performance and results.
“I know the way this team works and they know how I work. When it all gels, we can obviously see the results we get. We just need to make sure we can achieve that on a more consistent basis.
“Given the intensity of [the 2012 schedule] at the end of the year, with three double-headers, everybody needed that break to recharge their batteries and get their focus on 2013. That one month off gives you a chance to understand things more and I'm quite happy to now look ahead to the new season.
“I think the winter is more important for the race team who travel – the pressure that revolves around them is much higher than it is for us. They go through the mental stress of getting the car prepared over the race weekends and they are away from their families. We're always keen and eager to get back into the cars.”