Bathgate’s Paul di Resta has been told he won’t know who his 2013 team-mate is when he launches his new Sahara Force India racer on February 1.
The 26-year-old Scot, whose place in the Silverstone-based F1 team hasn’t yet been officially announced, will drive the new car at the Northamptonshire circuit at its launch.
The 2013 racer, the Sahara Force India VJ06, will again be powered by a Mercedes engine. The team though is understood to be lining up a switch to Ferrari engines for next year.
Sahara Force India and Caterham are the only two F1 teams yet to confirm who their second drivers will be.
Frenchman Jules Bianchi, last year’s reserve driver with the team, and German Adrian Sutil, who left the Force India in 2011, are believed to be the main candidates to partner Di Resta.
Sahara Force India deputy team boss Bob Fernley yesterday stressed the February 1 event would not be the platform to announce the second driver.
“No,” he said matter-of-factly. “The launch on February 1 is to launch the VJ06.”
It’s expected the announcement will be made before the Scot heads to the first official F1 pre-season four-day test at Jerez, in Spain, on February 5.
Fernley rubbished continuing rumours that financial problems are threatening the future of the team. Since it was launched in 2005, it has failed to make a profit. “Our shareholderd, Vijay and Sahara, are incredibly strong. They don’t need partners,” he said.