Scotland’s Paul di Resta might be forced to look elsewhere in order to continue with his motorsport career, as the F1 driver market begins to heat up.
Pastor Maldonado, along with his significant financial backing from Venezuelan oil-company PDVSA, has signed for Lotus, meaning that it is looking increasingly likely that Nico Hülkenberg will make the switch from Sauber to Force India. Hülkenberg, who beat di Resta by 3 points in the World Drivers’ Championship this season, was widely-tipped to make the move to Lotus. However because of the financial difficulties that the Enstone team face, they have opted to sign Maldonado instead, which leaves Hülkenberg free to rejoin his old team Force India.
If this move goes ahead, the second seat alongside the German will be sought after not only by di Resta, but also his 2013 team mate Adrian Sutil and Sergio Perez, who was dropped by McLaren. Di Resta faces a tough challenge, despite outscoring Sutil and being pipped by one point from Perez in the final race of the season. The 27-year-old Scot doesn’t bring a significant sponsorship deal to the table, unlike Perez with Telmex or Sutil with Medion and Capri Sun. In a sport where even the big teams need big money, more and more of the midfield outfits are opting for so-called ‘pay drivers,’ even when there might be a more talented driver available.
If a future in F1 is no longer an option, then di Resta may look at other forms of motorsport to continue his career. His career in DTM (German touring cars) saw him win the 2010 championship, and a return to the series might give the Bathgate-born driver a chance to reinvigorate his career with a view to returning to F1 in the future. IndyCar is also an option, and there have been many rumours surrounding the possibility of di Resta taking the vacant seat at Gnassi Racing after the retirement of his cousin Dario Franchitti.
With Force India owner Vijay Mallya set to wait until the Christmas party to confirm his drivers for the 2014 season, di Resta’s future could be confirmed in the next few weeks. It may be time for the Scot to bid goodbye to F1, at least for the time being, but if he leaves, another series will have picked up a talented and capable driver.