Paul di Resta’s manager has revealed that his client’s future in Formula One is uncertain due to the growing presence of pay drivers that could cause Force India to drop the Scot for 2014.
di Resta has failed to score any points in the last six races, retiring from four due to a combination of poor luck and driver error. However, he explained in Singapore that he was still confident of driving for Force India in 2014 after a strong start to the season, but manager Richard Goddard was less confident speaking to journalists earlier this week.
“It’s difficult to know what will happen next year,” he explained. “There are a lot of drivers in the sport with money, and there are a lot of teams that need money. It is not just outright talent that gets you a seat in the car any more.”
However, Goddard is hoping that Force India stick to their stance of prioritizing ability and pace instead of financial gain.
“Force India have always been very fair in that they have tended to put outright talent in the car, and they haven’t looked to a driver to bring in income, which is great,” he said. “That’s because they are well funded by a couple of individuals and corporations who are able to do that, and hopefully they will carry on doing that.”
di Resta debuted for Force India in 2011, and he scored his career-best finish of fourth at this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix. Although the Scot’s recent form has been far from impressive, his string of top-ten finishes in the first half of the year will have to be considered.
Nico Hulkenberg, Pastor Maldonado and Max Chilton have all been linked to di Resta’s seat, but Force India are yet to confirm when a decision will be made.
Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.
The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.
“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.
Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”
Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.
“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.
Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.