PAUL Di Resta has been promised by his Force India team that they won’t stand in his way if a bigger outfit come calling this season.
Di Resta is currently enjoying his strongest start to a season since he first arrived in Formula 1 in 2011, having scored points in six of the seven grands prix so far. That includes equalling his career-high best performance of fourth in Bahrain in April, enabling him to rack up 34 points and lie eighth in the drivers’ championship.
Although Di Resta has a contract with Force India for 2014, there is no doubt he is putting himself in the shop window.
Deputy team principal Bob Fernley has confirmed the Silverstone-based team would release Di Resta if an offer came in.
“Paul is contracted to us anyway for next season, so the question is whether somebody else comes in, so it won’t be our decision,” said Fernley.
“Whether Paul has to be released, or whatever, that can only come from him.
“But we wouldn’t stand in his way. That’s not our policy. If a driver feels he is better somewhere else, what would be the point in keeping him?
“We proved that at the end of last year with Nico Hulkenberg [who joined Sauber]. Did we want to lose Nico? Not at all.
“He was a great member of our team, but we didn’t get in the way of that particular move.
“We then proved by bringing in Adrian [Sutil] we are capable of recovering from such a situation and carrying on as normal.
“Maybe Nico is asking a few questions himself today, although last year it didn’t look such a bad option.”
Fernley is convinced the team can continue its run of form on Sunday at Silverstone. Their results have propelled them to fifth in the constructors’ championship, even ahead of under-performing McLaren.
“I don’t think we should be frightened of anything,” added Fernley.
“We’ve been on every variation of track over the seven races so far and we’ve performed well at all of them.
“I think we can hold our top-ten qualifying position – assuming we can get that bit right – and it will all fall out in the race again. But we are genuinely the fifth-quickest team out there at the moment. I don’t think there is any doubt about that.”