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Scot Paul di Resta gets F1 drive with Force India

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Scotland's Di Resta vows to race hard

Scotland's Paul di Resta will drive for Force India in 2011.

The move makes the 24-year-old the third British driver on the Formula 1 grid alongside world champions Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.

He will partner German Adrian Sutil, who is entering his fifth season with the team, with the former Williams driver Nico Hulkenberg as reserve.

"Now I'm going to live my dream, and that's to be a Formula 1 driver," said Di Resta, who was unveiled in Glasgow.

"I've worked really hard for this opportunity throughout my career and to get it with Force India, a young team that's got ambitions as big as mine, is genuinely exciting.

"I just hope this can continue on for a long time.

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"Britain has produced some great drivers over the years and Lewis and Jenson have really stood out in recent seasons as back-to-back world champions. To be on the grid with them is pretty special.

"I can't wait to be on the grid in Bahrain, it can't come soon enough."

Di Resta, Force India's reserve in 2010, is a highly rated protégé of Mercedes.

The Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi had a contract for 2010 but the team are negotiating a settlement with him.

BBC Sport understands that deal is not yet finalised, but the two parties are expected to come to an agreement.

Di Resta added: "Last year was a huge learning curve, but it got me into the team, the environment, and enabled me to learn all the systems you need to go through.

"I know the team now and I know what it takes to get through a weekend. I've learned many of the tracks, but it's still going to be a different challenge."

Hulkenberg positive about Force India role

Di Resta, who won the DTM German Touring Car Championship for Mercedes in 2010, impressed Force India while driving in Friday morning practice sessions, and the team have decided they have to give him a race seat.

He will join English McLaren team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, the 2008 and 2009 world champions, as a British F1 driver in 2011.

Di Resta, who is the cousin of triple IndyCar champion, and two-time Indy 500 winner, Dario Franchitti, raced against Hamilton and Red Bull's world champion Sebastian Vettel in his junior career.

Five years ago, Di Resta beat his then team-mate Vettel to the Formula Three Euroseries before moving to DTM in 2007.

The Scot followed Vettel into F1 last season when he was signed as Force India's reserve driver taking part in eight first practice sessions.

Who knows? I might even get some podiums

Force India driver Paul di Resta

"I got involved with Mercedes and I had six great years with them, four in DTM," Di Resta explained.

"That was great experience and it's made me eager to push on and prove myself in F1.

"I've not set myself any ambitions for this season. I just want to build from the ground up, but, who knows? I might even get some podiums."

Sutil had flirted with a move away from Force India last season but the German is now looking forward to his fifth successive season with the team.

"To stay for another year here feels very right," the 27-year-old said. "We know each other's strengths and also weaknesses so everything you do happens very smoothly.

"I was in the points a lot in the first half of 2010 and I want to keep that going until the end of the season this year."

German Hulkenberg, 23, slips into Di Resta's former role after losing his drive at Williams following an impressive rookie season.

Hulkenberg matched his experienced team-mate, the veteran Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, in the second half of 2010 and took an outstanding pole position at the Brazilian Grand Prix, the penultimate race of the season.

But Williams decided to replace him with Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado, who succeeded the German as GP2 champion and whose presence in the team is tied to a multi-year multi-million pound sponsorship from Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA.

Hulkenberg commented on his new role with Force India: "I feel excited about my new home in F1.

"Of course I'd rather be a race driver, but the most important thing is that I stay within the F1 circus. My motivation is to convince the team of my skills in order to be back in a race cockpit in 2012."

Force India chairman and team principal Vijay Mallya commented: "Adrian has matured into one of F1's most consistent and highly-rated young drivers, while Paul is, I believe, a real star of the future.

"With Nico, signing him was too good an opportunity to let by. Together I think they are a formidable partnership and will help take us to the next level of performance."



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see also
Scot Di Resta closes on F1 drive
20 Jan 11 |  Formula 1


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