Seven days after making finishing 11th on his first outing in Formula One free practice in Australia, Bathgate’s Paul di Resta returns to action today when he takes charge of team-mate Tonio Liuzzi’s Force India car in Malaysia.
Reserve and test driver Di Resta, who celebrates his 24th birthday in a fortnight, is ready to up the pace further as he becomes more acquainted with the Mercedes-powered car and his engineers.
“I definitely feel, after looking through the data and speaking with the engineers after my drive in Melbourne, that I can give a bit more tomorrow,” the Scot admitted as he finalised his preparations in Kuala Lumpar.
“Having said that, people have to appreciate I have a specific job to do for the team. That’s my number one priority and it’s certainly more important, at this stage, than going for the really fast times.
“Primarily I’ll be working with Tonio to understand what information he and the team needs. Everyone has set themselves high goals, but they are realistic and it’s fantastic to be part of a team which is moving forward at such a speed.”
Already Di Resta’s effect on the team, and drivers — Italian Liuzzi and Adrian Sutil from Germany — this season not be underestimated. It’s no coincidence it has made its strongest ever start to the season.
Both drivers, who started the season knowing they were under pressure, have been forced to respond to the Scot’s presence. Sutil has qualified in the top 10 in both opening grands prix in Bahrain and Australia while Liuzzi, who finished seventh in Melbourne, has scored points in both races.
And while Di Resta makes no effort to hide his determination to become an F1 race driver with Force India sooner rather than later, he accepts that for now he must concentrate on helping Sutil and Liuzzi.
“That’s my job at the moment and I have no problems with it,” he smiled. “I think I can up my pace tomorrow and help the team learn even more.
“Like Australia, it’s my first time in Malaysia and the heat and humidity have taken wee bit to get used to. But I’m acclimatised now and I can’t wait to get in the car and get out on to the Sepang track. It looks sensational.”