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Page last updated at 15:28 GMT, Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Paul di Resta is named Force India reserve driver

Paul di Resta celebrates a DTM triumph
Di Resta has been competing in the DTM touring car championship

Paul di Resta has moved a step closer to becoming the latest Briton to compete in Formula One after joining the Force India set-up this season.

The 23-year-old Scot has been confirmed as their test and reserve driver after impressing in the young driver test in Jerez in December.

He said: "I am ecstatic to finally get the chance to move into F1.

"I'm pleased I can start my F1 career with Force India, a team that has a lot of potential."

Di Resta will also continue to race in Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) this year but will attend all 19 grands prix this season and has been promised track time as he will be allowed to run in Friday practice sessions.

"I see this move as taking me one step closer to achieving my dream of racing in F1, but I know I have a lot to learn in terms of the car and the tracks right now," he said.

"I think this programme is a perfect way to prepare fully and be ready to go if and when the chance of a race seat comes.

We are very proud to have someone of Paul's calibre joining the team as his potential was clear in the test and he has the right attitude for making it in F1

Force India team principal
Vijay Mallya

"I hope this will be the start of a long-term future with Force India."

There is every prospect of Di Resta racing against Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton this year as Force India's race drivers Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi are understood to be under pressure to produce results.

For now, Di Resta will have to bide his time, although he is highly rated by team principal Vijay Mallya.

"We are very proud to have someone of Paul's calibre joining the team as his potential was clear in the test and he has the right attitude for making it in F1," said Mallya.

"The programme we have put together will allow him to get to grips with the car, the team and the environment and various pressures associated with F1.

"We look forward to this becoming a very fruitful partnership."

Di Resta, a cousin of reigning Indy car champion Dario Franchitti, performed well against his rival for the test berth, the American JR Hildebrand, during the young driver test at Jerez in Spain in December.

The Scot, from Bathgate in West Lothian, began his career in karting before moving into British Formula Renault and then the Formula Three Euroseries.

He beat present Formula 1 Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel to the title in 2006 and moved to the DTM championship in 2007.

Di Resta has previously been linked with a move to F1 with McLaren Mercedes and Virgin Racing.

Now, as a test driver, it brings him within touching distance of following fellow Euroseries graduates Vettel, Nico Rosberg and Hamilton into an F1 race car.

Now he is part of Force India, who finished ninth in the F1 championship last season, for the new campaign that begins next month in Bahrain.

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see also
Di Resta stars in F1 driver test
03 Dec 09 |  Formula 1
F1 young driver tests photos
03 Dec 09 |  Formula 1
Di Resta aiming to take F1 chance
01 Dec 09 |  Formula 1
Force India retain Sutil & Liuzzi
27 Nov 09 |  Formula 1

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