Paul di Resta became the third Brit in Formula One when he made his debut for Force India in Australia last weekend. Di Resta, who won the DTM touring championship in 2010, finished a solid tenth and picked up his first ever Grand Prix point.
Di Resta is of strong racing pedigree; his cousins are Indy Car Champion and Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti and sports car driver Mario Franchitti and it’s clear that he caught the racing bug early beginning his career in karting in 1994 at the tender age of eight.
By 2003 Di Resta had moved onto single-seater racing competing in British Formula Renault for the Eurotek Motorsport team where he finished seventh in the standings. In 2004 he moved to Manor Motorsport finishing third in the championship with four wins, later in the same year he was awarded the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of The Year Award that gave him a chance to test in the McLaren F1 car.
Following his success in 2004 Di Resta switched to the Formula Three Euroseries with Manor Motorsport finishing tenth in 2005. Di Resta then went on to win the series with the ASM Formulae 3 Team in 2006 with five race wins beating his team mate and the future world champion Sebastian Vettel.
Despite his success in single-seater racing Di Resta moved to the German Tour Car Championship (DTM) in 2007 driving for Mercedes and finished fifth in the championship even though he was not driving a 2007 spec car. Di Resta continued in DTM for the next three years finishing second in 2008, third in 2009 and winning the championship in 2010. During the 2010 season Di Resta also acted as test driver for the Force India Team, driving at eight of the first practice sessions in place of the regular drivers Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi.
After Liuzzi’s disappointing 2010 performance Di Resta replaced him as one of Force India’s drivers for 2011 partnering Sutil and debuting at the Australian Grand Prix. In qualifying Di Resta out qualified Sutil and started the race in 14th position. In the race Di Resta was up to 10th position by the end of lap one, but found himself behind his team mate prior to the first pit stop phase. After his pit stop Di Resta was once again ahead of his team mate but by the end of the race he was behind, however he later admitted that he let Sutil passed twice as they were on differing strategies. Di Resta went onto finish 12th but was promoted to 10th, earning him his first Grand Prix point, following the disqualification of both the Sauber drivers.
His impressive performance in relation to his team mate, who is highly regarded among the other drivers, implies that Di Resta could be a star of the future. If he manages to continue to challenge his team mate, even beating him, then his future F1 career looks assured.