Force India boss Vijay Mallya has said 'nothing went wrong' with Paul di Resta, but he felt the Silverstone-based team needed to 'move on' next year and bring in two drivers that are 'really hungry' and have 'fire in their belly'.
Speaking following the announcement on Thursday that McLaren reject Sergio Perez
will partner Nico Hulkenberg in 2014 – giving Force India a brnad new look line-up, Mallya added that he hopes the Scot does find a seat in F1, although that isn't looking likely, and it now seems the 27-year-old will head back to the DTM - the German touring car championship.
“Nothing went wrong with Paul,” Mallya told Sky Sports F1
. “I like him, he's a good friend and hope he will continue to remain a great friend. He is exceptionally talented. He has had a good relationship and a good stint with us – it wasn't just a one-year stint. So we gave him the opportunity and he delivered for us.
“I could have retained either of my existing drivers. But at the end of the day we've had them and we've had long relationships with both.
“Adrian had a one-year break and came back to us. I consulted my other team members and they all said 'new car, new regulations, let's get a new set of drivers who have got fire in their belly and are really hungry'.
"Sergio fits that bill and so the combination of Checo and Nico works fantastically for me.”
“I've got nothing against Paul,” Mallya stressed. “The bottom line is that I wish him all the best, I wish he stays in the F1 paddock. Don't forget I brought him into F1 from the DTM, I gave him that opportunity.
“I was happy to give him that opportunity, I don't regret it one bit. So I hope he stays and who knows sometime in the future [maybe] they'll be another opportunity. Nobody can guess what happens in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 onwards.”
Meanwhile, in a separate development, di Resta's 2013 Force India team-mate, Sutil inked a deal today [Friday
] to switch to Sauber next year, leaving just four F1 seats open for 2014 – one at Sauber and Marussia and two at Caterham.