Paul Di Resta is hopeful that Force India's recent poor run might be over
Scot encouraged by signs of progress in Japan
By Mike Wise and James Galloway at the Buddh International Circuit. Last Updated: October 24, 2013 1:02pm
Force India ready for home GP
Paul Di Resta is optimistic Force India can take the fight to Sauber after spotting encouraging signs of progress at the last race in Japan.
Speaking on Thursday ahead of the Indian Grand Prix, Di Resta said that a "back to basics" approach had helped the struggling team at Suzuka.
Di Resta could only finish 11th two weeks ago but was encouraged nonetheless. "I think in terms of what we did at Suzuka, it did turn around," he said. "It's the first time I think we've got the car back where it should be on balance and I felt confident within it.
"We started off the weekend struggling and we slowly but surely went back to basics and we had a good race.
"We're more confident than where we've been recently for this race."
After a strong start to the season, Force India have struggled since the start of the summer and are convinced the decision to switch tyres for safety reasons after the spate of blowouts at Silverstone is behind their decline.
Di Resta, who last scored points at the British GP, said Force India had needed time to understand the problem.
"For a few races there, we were trying things we probably shouldn't be trying. We've gone back to the basics and the car is more comfortable to drive. That was probably the difference over the race weekend," he said.
"We'd done more than we'd probably done when we'd scored points at the beginning of the year."
In contrast, Sauber have come on strong in recent races and now stand just 17 points behind their rivals in the fight for sixth place in the Constructors' Championship.
The Swiss team's renaissance was underlined by the performance of rookie Esteban Gutierrez in Japan, where he finished seventh behind team-mate Nico Hulkenberg.
"It shows how strong the car is," Di Resta said. "Esteban had a good result at the last race and Nico's doing the job I think you'd expect but it's turned. It's where we were at the beginning of the year."
Meanwhile, Di Resta denied feeling uncertain about his future. As things stand, he doesn't have a contract for 2014 but is confident he has done enough to convince Force India to retain him.
The Scot also cited the importance of continuity given the fundamental rules changes that will be ushered in next season.
"I don't feel uncertain," he asserted. "Force India have come out and said what they want to say and we're making sure we're not missing any opportunities. I think in the midfield, nobody's certain anywhere at the moment.
"I can't speak for them but I think I've delivered this year when I've been given the chance. Sometimes I've delivered more and places in qualifying where we've had mistakes.
"It's all part of it. And at Suzuka we proved that when we get it all back under control and everything runs smoothly, we can deliver a good weekend."
The 27-year-old added: "They know what I can do and they know that if they give me the tools then I can deliver. And I think consistency is probably going to be key for next year."
However, it appears Di Resta is already playing catch-up this weekend as it was later revealed that illness has forced him to sit out Friday's P1 session. Reserve driver James Calado will deputise.