Mercs: Di Resta on our radar
Scot emerges as frontrunner to replace Schumi
Last Updated: May 21, 2012 11:08am
Mercedes have confirmed they are keeping tabs on Paul di Resta amid mounting speculation that the Scot is being lined up to replace Michael Schumacher.
Although the Force India driver has been recently linked with Ferrari as a replacement for the faltering Felipe Massa, Di Resta has a longstanding association with Mercedes and appears to be at the front of the queue if, as is widely expected, Schumacher retires - for a second time - from F1 at the end of the season.
"Of course Paul's on our radar," Nick Fry, Mercedes' Chief Executive Officer confirmed to Sky Sports News. "He's done a fantastic job, he's a nice guy, he's great team player and he would be one of the drivers undoubtedly that, if Michael were to decide he didn't want to continue, we would look at. But we haven't reached that time yet in our thinking but we have all got a lot of admiration for Paul."
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Having triumphed in the DTM series with Mercedes after graduating through their young driver development programme, a promotion to a full race seat with the group's F1 oufit would be the logical next step for Di Resta to take after an impressive start to the current campaign. Were his choice to boil down to either Mercedes or Ferrari, the latter's legendary status in the sport would surely be trumped by Mercedes' ability to offer Di Resta the sort of equality that he wouldn't receive from a team dominated by Fernando Alonso.
Fry's willingness to go public with the team's interest would certainly suggest that he would enter any negotiations with the team in a relatively strong bargaining position.
Conversely, Schumacher's position seems to be weakening by the week. The veteran has scored just two points this term compared to Nico Rosberg's haul of 41 and will start off this weekend's race in Monaco handicapped by a five-place grid demotion. While careful not to write off the seven-times World Champion, Fry's assessment of Schumacher's current predicament was notably lukewarm.
"I am sure if we get to the end of this year and it is continues as it has done for the last few races I think he will probably be asking himself that question. There is time to go and we are not making any decisions yet."