Thursday, 27 January 2011

Two Lions and a Scot

Paul di Resta was yesterday confirmed as Britain's third Formula One driver for 2011, joining Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, both at McLaren. He will partner German Adrian Sutil at Force India. Here at That F1 Blog we take a quick look back at his career so far and what can be realistically expected of the young West Lothian driver.


di Resta on his trusty Force India steed

Like almost every other Formula One driver today, di Resta started his career in karts at a young age, participating in various kart series between 1994 and 2001. He stepped up to the next traditional stepping stone: Formula Renault and impressed in his limited performance. However, in 2005, he joined the F3 Euroseries with help from Manor Motorsport (the same team who run Virgin Racing). That year, for his troubles, he was awarded the prestigious McLaren Young Driver of the Year Award, which features among previous winners name such as a certain Mr D Coulthard and J Button, as well as di Resta's cousin, Dario Franchitti.


However, it was Paul's 2006 F3 season that was to grab headlines. He was paired with none other than Sebastian Vettel, curent F1 world champ whom he comprehensively beat to the championship by taking six wins, ten podiums and five pole positions, whilst teammate Vettel, Qualifying master, only managed two poles in 22 races.


It was in 2007 that di Resta's career took its most important turn to date. He signed to race for Mercedes in the DTM, that is, Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters, the German BRDC. He racked up four podiums which was no mean feat when pitted against competition such as Mika Hakkinen, McLaren tester Gary Paffett and Le Mans master Tom Kristensen. The following season (2008) he was given an improved Mercedes for his impressive debut performances and took his first two wins in the category. He eventually finshed runner-up to champion Timo Schneider. Schneider won the championship again the following season, whilst di Resta was third behind Schneider and compatriot Paffett. 2010's conflict started much better, and over the course of the year Paul took three wins out of eleven - not a bad percentage at all. However, it's points that count, and he took four more than Paffett who drove the exact same type of Merc.


What's even more incredible is that while he was taking the DTM crown he was throwing the Force India around the track on selected Fridays. The team were obviously very impressed by his input to both the car and the team in general with BBC pundit David Coulthard commenting that he had a 'bright future' and was a very mature young man indeed.


Obviously Force India think so, after picking him over proven talent Nico H├╝lkenberg for their 2011 campaign. Saying that, di Resta has consistently shown his own talent throughout his career and it will be very interesting indeed to see how he fares this season up against fellow rookie Sergio Perez (possibly his closest rival) and the fast, but flawed, Sutil. How do you think Paul will get on in 2011? Leave your thoughts in the comments.


Image (c) Force India

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