Paul di Resta has told Sky Sports F1 he's under more pressure than ever in 2013
Force India driver outlines season's ambitions to Johnny Herbert
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 14/02/13 6:03pm
Di Resta looks ahead to 2013
Paul di Resta has admitted that he is inevitably going to be under more scrutiny than ever before during his third season of Formula 1.
After missing out on a move to a front-running team for this season, the 26-year-old remains at Force India and, depending on the identity of his 2013 team-mate, could find himself as the team's de facto number one for the first time.
Di Resta has already had to shoulder more responsibility over the winter due to the fact that he has remained the outfit's only confirmed driver.
But speaking in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports F1's Johnny Herbert, the Scot said he wouldn't be fazed by any increase in responsibility.
"There's more pressure than ever probably on me because it's my third year," he told Johnny.
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"But believe me, there's more pressure to achieve what I want to achieve and ultimately that's why I'm in the position I am because I've dealt with pressure through my life."
Di Resta revealed that he had "really pushed my boundary a bit further" with his fitness programme over the winter months, training on 27 of the 31 days of January, for example, and said that he and the team were intent on trying to continue moving their way up the grid in 2013.
Although Force India finished the last campaign as one of the grid's form outfits, di Resta's own resullts relative to then team-mate Nico Hulkenberg tailed off in the final rounds, with the former DTM Champion scoring just two points from Japan onwards.
Just prior to that run, however, di Resta had scored a career-high finish of fourth in Singapore and he said it is important he doesn't forget his 2012 high points.
"For whatever reason the luck just wasn't there [in the closing races]," he explained.
"But not to forget just before that we had some great results and some great performance over a couple of grands prix.
"[So the plan is] not to forget about it, just refocus, come back fresh ready to go and come out with fire in your belly and really put the pressure on the people you need to."
Having been overlooked by both McLaren and Mercedes for 2013 drives, di Resta has already made clear his desire to put himself back in the shop window when the driver market for 2014 enters full swing.
While stressing that he won't be looking that far ahead just yet, di Resta nonetheless hinted that ensuring he was in a strong seat for the start of F1's new era of rules was a priority.
"Without letting your mind wander to next year, [but it's] exciting times, new engines, new generation of car, different power units, a bit more electric power in there. It's all unknown, it's not decided yet, it's a long way away, it's 20 grands prix weekends, it's 20 weekends of stress, high pressure environment but enjoyment, celebration...
"But reputation in Formula 1, securing a drive, is the main focus and making sure you're in the seat come 2014 round one."
Before that, though, and having outlined the target of scoring "a lot of points" in the new campaign, di Resta also thinks he can be a key beneficiary of Pirelli's renewed bid to spice up the racing.
"The new tyres are going to throw up a few surprises," he predicted. "The construction's a bit different, the compounds. Pirelli have been quite vocal and said they're going to make it more of a headache for us - I think it's great. Why shouldn't it be?
"Ultimately for a team like us, we can take a bit more of an aggressive approach, we can get the big boys at the front of the race and they eat up their tyres in qualifying for their ultimate performance. It all adds up through the weekend and I think, me as a driver, I think I'm probably one of the ones that can adapt to try and save tyres but getting the speed."