British driver Paul di Resta and current Indy Lights champion American JR Hildebrand will share driving duties of the VJM02 for the test in Jerez, Spain next week. Twenty-three year old Paul and 21-year old JR were given a chance to use a simulator last week and the two came out as the best of the candidates.
Di Resta, from West Lothian, Scotland, is a Mercedes works driver in the German touring car series, the DTM, and finished third overall with one win in the 2009 championship. He also has an impressive record in the junior formulae, winning the 2006 Formula 3 Euroseries against a field including current F1 race winner Sebastian Vettel. In 2004 Paul was awarded the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year.
Hildebrand is from California and has to prominence on the American racing scene thanks to his victory in the Indy Lights series.
“It’s been a while since I last tested an F1 car but I’ve been working hard in the simulator and giving it my all in the DTM so I’m confident I’ll be up to speed quickly,” said Di resta. “It’s an exciting opportunity for me as F1 has always been my dream and I feel this is taking me one step closer to achieving it. I’m realistic that I’ve got a lot to prove and that I need a bit more experience of the cars and the F1 environment before getting a permanent seat but this is just the beginning of what I hope will be a very bright future with Force India. I’d like to thank Mercedes for giving me this opportunity and to Force India for being so supportive.”
Hildebrand has been mentioned as a possible driver with the USF1 team, but that may depend on funding.
“I’m ecstatic to get my first taste of F1. I’ve heard so much about the performance of the cars and know this is going to be quicker and more responsive than anything I’ve ever sat in before. I know it’s a big challenge but I feel ready to tackle it. The aim is to learn the track and the car and then hopefully show my potential. As an American we don’t necessarily have the culture of F1 but anything that’s so impressive and cutting-edge demands respect. I hope I can do the car and myself justice. Thanks to everyone for making this happen, I can’t wait to get to Jerez.”