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Di Resta apologises for Korea crash
6 October 2013
Paul di Resta held up his hands and took the blame for the mid-race incident that saw him run off the track at turn 11 to bring an early end to his afternoon at the Korea International Circuit - although he wasn't entirely show exactly what had happened.
"I have to hold my hands up and apologise to the team," said the Scot. "Maybe I took a little bit too much kerb and that's sent me off the track.
"The way we've set the car up means it has been quite edgy and difficult to drive, and that's what has caught me out today," he said. "Although whether it has cost us points is hard to say.
"The performance in the race was not where we wanted it to be and the front tyres were wearing out too quickly, he added. "So we need to have a rethink ahead of Suzuka and go there determined to have a clean race."
It's the latest disappointment in what's become something of a slump in form for di Resta in the latter half of 2013, and just at the worst possible time as teams are starting to look around at driver candidates for next year.
"I don't think he's on top form in terms of where he wants to be clearly himself," Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley told Sky Sports
after the race. "This is our third season with Paul, we've had two and a half seasons of fantastic effort in from him, so we wouldn't judge somebody over two or three races.
"Paul was pushing hard after his second stop and just made a small mistake at turn 12. It was a fairly gentle tap against the barrier, but it was enough to damage the right rear corner and end his race."
However, Fernley admitted that his support for di Resta only carried so much weight and that driver selection was a matter for the team CEO Dr Vijay Mallya.
"It's not my decision at the end of the day anyway, it's a decision for Vijay and the shareholders," conceded Fernley." We will obviously look at that in our normal process after the Indian GP where we take the guidance from a number of our key people and we always end up with a consensus.
"Certainly a couple of races isn't going to be a black mark on anybody, we look at the total package," he insisted.
Not that it was a much better day at the races for di Resta's team mate Adrian Sutil, who was caught out in the close quarters combat on turn 1, spun during a restart and damaged the rear of the Force India after colliding with Mark Webber, suffered a drive-thru penalty for speeding on pit lane and finally retired five laps from the finish of the race.
"I was quite unlucky on the first lap because after [Felipe] Massa spun everybody headed for the inside and somebody hit me on the side of my front wing," said the German. "The damage was not too bad but I still had to pit for a new one.
"As the race went on I was able to fight back quite well and after the safety car I was in P12 and not planning to pit again," he explained. "At the restart I lost the rear of the car under braking for turn three. I really don't know why because I was not braking late and the car just snapped.
"I hit Webber so I apologise for ending his race," he added. "It's a disappointing end to the race because I believe there was still a chance of a point."
“It was not the easiest day in the office for anyone at Sahara Force India and we leave Korea feeling disappointed," summed up Fernley. "After a tough race like that it's important we try and bounce back in Japan next week.”