Podium not in sight of Force India, says di Resta

September 6th, 2012 - 7:27 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 6 (IANS) Sahara Force India have been faring better this time round than the last Formula One season, though they have not got any closer to the elusive podium finish. All the same, their driver Paul di Resta is hoping for a “special result” in the home race in India next month.

The Silverstone-based outfit has 59 points from the first 12 rounds of the season and with eight races remaining they should easily get past last year’s score of 69.

They team has shown more consistency, yet a podium finish is highly difficult though not impossible. On the contrary, Force India’s closest rivals Sauber and Williams managed to finish in the top three during the first half of the season.

Di Resta says even though getting on to the podium remains a challenge the team’s clear focus is to secure a finish with double-digit points in the coming rounds.

“It (a podium) will be a big ask, but we’d never say never,” di Resta told IANS ahead of the Italian Grand Prix in Monza this weekend.

“It all depends on track characteristics because there could be a track where everything clicks and the package comes together. But the main focus is to try and get both cars in the points to help our position in the championship,” he said referring to something Force India have done four times so far.

The Scot, too, has performed credibly in his second F1 year, collecting 28 points for his efforts, one more than in his rookie season. He continues to deal with stiff competition from teammate Nico Hulkenberg, yet di Resta has been linked to various top teams, including Mercedes and Ferrari for 2013.

“I think I have matured as a driver and continue to grow with the team. The reason for my improved performance has a lot to do with already having a year under my belt. Your second season is always a bit easier. You know the tracks, you know the team and above all you have experience.

“The feedback from the team is good, we get on well and we have had some strong results in the first half of the season. Now we need to carry the momentum into the second half,” he said in the wake of the team’s impressive showing in Belgium where Nico came fourth and he himself finished 10th.

On the Indian Grand Prix (Oct 26-28), di Resta said: “The first edition was a great success. The track is interesting, some nice corners and the event was well attended. It is a very important race for us, a home Grand Prix, so we would love to get a special result there.”

He added, “We will be in Delhi well ahead of the race this year to promote the sport.”

(Bharat Sharma can be contacted at bharat.s@ians.in)

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