The Force India F1 Team has announced that Adrian Sutil, Paul di Resta and Nico Hülkenberg will be the team’s drivers in 2011. The team did not mention contracted driver Tonio Liuzzi in the official press release.
It is believed that di Resta has been given the second Force India drive in exchange for the free supply of the Mercedes KERS system, which would otherwise be costing the team in the region of $6 million, after the German manufacturer decided to hike the price of the system last autumn. This is in addition to an engine bill which works out at around $12 million, at the current rates of exchange.
Di Resta is 25 and comes from Scotland. He is IndyCar driver Dario Franchitti’s cousin. He started out in karting in 1994 and moved to cars in 2002 in Formula Renault. He finished third in the British Championship in 2004, driving for Manor Motorsport, being beaten by Mike Conway and and Westley Barber, but then moved on to the Formula 3 Euroseries, still with Manor, in 2005. He finished 10th in the championship and then moved to the ASM team in 2006, as team-mate to Sebastian Vettel, Giedo Van der Garde and Kamui Kobayashi. The team won a total of 10 of the 20 races that year, with di Resta winning five and the title, Vettel four and Van der Garde one. As a result he was signed by Mercedes to race in DTM and has been there ever since. He finished fifth overall in 2007, second in 2008, third in 2009 and won the the title in 2010. Last year he did Friday practice sessions for Force India at eight races. The only occasion when he went faster than one of two regular drivers was in Spain, where Liuzzi lost most of the session with a throttle problem. It will be interesting to see how he adapts to single-seater racing after five full seasons in touring cars.