Force India team boss Vijay Mallya said there was nothing wrong with Paul di Resta’s performances in 2013 despite replacing him with Sergio Perez.
Perez was confirmed to partner Nico Hulkenberg in a new-look line-up for 2013, ending Scot di Resta’s three-year stint with the team.
Di Resta scored 48 points in 2013, one shy of his new replacement, and enjoyed a strong finish to the season. However, Mallya told Autosport that a new challenge was required to freshen things up:
Nothing went wrong with Paul. I like him, he is a great friend and hopefully he will remain that but every team needs to move on.
We gave Paul a good stint with us, it wasn't just one year. We gave him the opportunity, he did a lot for us.
If the British fans are disappointed I apologise, but such considerations don't really merit or drive the final choice.
We felt, and all my team members felt, that new car, new challenges, perhaps a new driver line-up would also be appropriate.
Mallya also told Autosport that money was not a contributing factor in the decision to hire Perez, although the Mexican brings substantial backing with him.
I will not compromise the quality of my drivers for money; that is not my philosophy.
I could have retained either of my existing drivers, but at the end of the day we've had them, and had long relationships with both.
I consulted my other team members and they all said new car, new regulations, lets get a new set of drivers who have fire in their belly, who are really hungry.
Sergio fits that bill. He is a gutsy guy, very hungry, and that is what we need.
There might be opportunities going forward in Mexico and Latin America through Sergio, and that part of the world was totally closed to us.
But I don't believe in the paid driver concept. I've had many opportunities in the past to take paid drivers and that is not the philosophy of Force India.
Di Resta still has a chance of remaining in F1, with a possible drive at Sauber his best option, although fellow outgoing teammate Adrian Sutil is also chasing a seat.