Analysing Paul Di Resta's Prospects: Will He Find a Better Car Than Force India?
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Paul di Resta’s latest setback in a season blighted with bad luck saw his Singapore Grand Prix end in the barrier at Turn 7 as teammate Adrian Sutil went on to collect the final championship point.
“I'm still not sure what happened, but I took the corner the same way as I had done the previous lap and the car went straight on and wouldn't stop,” said a frustrated di Resta afterwards in his post-race press release. “The team is investigating what happened.”
Does Paul di Resta deserve a crack at a top race seat?
Bar strong races in Bahrain and Spain, Sutil has endured several misfortunes in 2013, and things came to a head in Canada when he called his team’s performance "not even acceptable" in an interview with BBC Sport over the gearbox software issues that left him 17th on the grid.
He was then excluded from qualifying at Silverstone having put his Force India P5 on the grid and his latest DNF comes after accidents in Belgium and Italy also led to retirements.
So what now for a driver once tipped for the very top by fellow Scot David Coulthard?
On a positive note he is still 10 points clear of teammate Sutil in the drivers’ standings despite his run of bad luck. The other positive is that big teams are well aware of his talent with di Resta revealing back in January at the Autosport International show via the Daily Mail that McLaren contemplated acquiring his services alongside Jenson Button before plumping for the extra cash injection that Sergio Perez brought with him through his Telmex connections.
Di Resta reveals McLaren talks - 5.26 in
I'm not going to give away too much, but yes, there were discussions. Unfortunately in this sport now there's a little bit more to it. There's a commercial side and money's tight. Perez has some good backing. I've got a great relationship with McLaren. Martin Whitmarsh was actually the key person who put my name forward for Force India, and also I've been part of Mercedes-Benz for a lot of years.
The bad news for di Resta is that McLaren looks a real long shot now with BBC Sport revealing that Fernando Alonso is now the team’s prime target to replace Perez for the 2014 season with Jenson Button still under contract.
It does appear unlikely, however, as Alonso has a Ferrari contract until 2016, and they have just signed Kimi Raikkonen to be his new teammate. If it were to happen, Nico Hulkenberg would likely step in as Raikkonen’s Ferrari teammate and all paths would then lead to Lotus being di Resta’s best bet for a more competitive drive.
Whatever the musical chairs ramifications that are to come, the fact of the matter is that Lotus are still seeking a second driver to fill the Raikkonen void. Hulkenberg is the undeniable favourite should things stay as they are, and Romain Grosjean’s strong drive in Singapore is also helping his cause.
So di Resta may just have to bide his time for another year and stick with Force India.
And looking on the bright side of things, there are worse teams out there.
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