Fernley: Paul di Resta a future champion

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Force India’s deputy team principal Bob Fernley has said that he believes Paul di Resta has got what it takes to become Formula One world champion.

di Resta’s F1 career has been rather quiet so far, but his fourth place finish at last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix has been regarded by many as the British driver’s best performance in the sport. Off the back of this, Fernley has heaped praise upon his driver.

“Absolutely, there is no reason why he and a number of others would not have as well, but certainly Paul could,” Fernley told Sky Sports when asked whether di Resta could be a world champion. However, he extended this to many other drivers on the grid, suggesting that it is largely down to the car which teams provide their drivers with.

“Probably at least fifty per cent of the drivers on the grid today, given the right car and package, would be a world champion, because they are some quality drivers.”

Fernley also spoke about the inter-team rivalry at Force India, which nearly spilled over in China as di Resta made contact with teammate Adrian Sutil. Regardless, Fernley believes that it is a good thing to have this kind of competition.

“It is the perfect scenario for us.

“In 2011 when Paul and Adrian were fighting each other, it was equally close, but what we wanted to do was keep the pressure on Paul actually because each driver needs to be performing at their limit. They need to give us quite a tough time and we have to set it up that they are having a tough time.”

Force India has made its best start to a Formula One season in 2013, scoring 26 points in the first four races, and di Resta  currently sits a strong 8th in the drivers’ championship. If he can keep up this good form, the Scot could be in line for a seat with a bigger team in the future.

Montoya: ‘Hopefully I get a chance to do Indy again’ (VIDEO)

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Juan Pablo Montoya is on site at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, his latest trip in a summer and fall filled with a lot of international travel and a number of different race cars he’s been in.

Montoya is committed to a full season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Acura Team Penske in 2018, as he’ll share one of the team’s Acura ARX-05s with Dane Cameron.

However, the question of whether he’ll be able to race in the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil remains.

Team Penske has said it plans to only run four cars next month of May, with Helio Castroneves as the fourth driver alongside the three full-time cars driven by Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power.

While Montoya has said elsewhere that he’s shopping offers and has talked with other teams, it’d be highly surprising to see the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion who developed the Chevrolet engine for IndyCar’s 2018 Dallara universal body kit in a Honda-powered IndyCar, although he is running Honda’s brand (Acura) in sports cars.

Montoya elaborated on his Indy 500 prospects in an interview with NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton at the Circuit of The Americas.

“Not full-time no,” Montoya told NBCSN of his IndyCar 2018 prospects. “Hopefully I get a chance to go to Indy, hopefully with Penske, (and) if not someone else. We’ll see.”

Photo: IndyCar

Montoya has extolled the early testing both on the 2018 IndyCar and on the Acura ARX-05.

The first Acura chassis has run at Road Atlanta and Sebring International Raceway thus far, and will be put through its paces at other venues over the next few months.

“It’s been good. We did a lot of work with INDYCAR on that car. Fans are gonna like it,” Montoya said of the 2018 kit.

“Going to IMSA with the Acura program, we’ve done a lot of testing. It’s a beauty to drive. It drives better than what it looks! I haven’t had that much fun driving a race car in a long time.”

Acura ARX-05 Daytona Prototype international (DPi) race car to be campaigned by Team Penske in 2018