Despite unofficial 'confirmation' that both Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil will remain at Force India in Formula 1 in 2009 [see separate story – click here
], it seems the latter's seat may not be entirely safe from the threat of Paul di Resta.
The Scot – who will bid to clinch the DTM title at Hockenheim on Sunday by overturning the two-point deficit currently separating him from Audi rival and long-time championship leader Timo Scheider – is this week conducting two days of F1 testing with McLaren-Mercedes, having already spent two days behind the wheel at Silverstone earlier this month.
According to prominent Scottish newspaper the Herald
, di Resta has been told that should he impress again, he may be F1-bound next season. It has been rumoured of late that Force India could be set for a switch from Ferrari to Mercedes power in 2009, with the West Lothian ace also coming in as part of the package.
“There is the possibility of Paul being integrated into Formula 1” McLaren team principal Ron Dennis recently revealed, “not necessarily with McLaren at this stage, but he certainly has the potential to succeed in F1.”
Indeed, off the back of a superb debut season in the DTM in a two-year-old Mercedes C-Class in 2007 – achieving no fewer than four rostrum finishes from ten outings to end the campaign as the highest-placed driver in non-current spec machinery – di Resta has enhanced his reputation yet further this year, fully justifying his promotion to the works AMG squad by leading the Stuttgart manufacturer's charge up against a seemingly superior competitor in Audi.
The 22-year-old has previously expressed his frustration at having been overlooked by F1 teams whilst contemporaries like Sebastian Vettel – who he comprehensively had the beating of en route
to the 2005 F3 Euroseries laurels – have not only been given the break, but even established themselves as grand prix winners.
“Right from the start of my career I have wanted to get into F1,” he urged, adding moreover that he would come relatively 'cheap, when compared to some of the older drivers in the sport'.
“You won't get anywhere in this business by setting your sights low. I know that I have the speed and the ability to make the grade in F1, and I want to test myself at the highest level.”