Paul Di Resta left the Interlagos paddock on Sunday with his head held high, vowing that Formula 1 had not seen the last of him.
It is understood that Force India will not be retaining the services of Di Resta after three years with the Silverstone-based marque, with the Brazilian Grand Prix his last for the team.
Instead, Force India will announce at some stage in the near future Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez as their preferred line-up for 2014, with Adrian Sutil likely on his way to Sauber.
Hulkenberg has long been Lotus’s No 1 choice as replacement for Kimi Raikkonen, but their failure to secure a deal with a consortium known as Quantum Motorsports for a 35 per cent share in the team has resulted in them turning to Pastor Maldonado.
With state-owned Venezuelan oil and gas giant PDVSA behind him, the 28-year-old Maldonado is able to offer Lotus the money they need to take them into next season and beyond, with a deal to be confirmed later this week.
As for Di Resta, it is likely he will now have to look outside of F1, with a return to DTM (German touring cars) or IndyCar on the table.
Insisting he was not saying goodbye to F1 yet, the Scot said last night: “Not for trying it won’t be, so I’m not thinking about that. I’ll only look back dependent on which way the decision goes. I’m not giving up. I’d like to think there is a chance somewhere.
“I have dedicated as much as I can to doing this. People said before, when I was in DTM, that I couldn’t do it and I proved them wrong. The next few weeks are obviously crucial but people know what I can achieve if I’m given the tools.
“It’s obviously a difficult one at the moment because of the current position in the midfield.
“If this is it then it would be a sad end, but I’ve still good offers to stay in competitive racing. I just have to do what is best for me at the same time and be respected.”
Di Resta is unfortunate proof that in F1’s current economic climate, talent alone these days is not enough to secure a seat, as the Scot outscored, out- qualified and out-raced Sutil.
The 27-year-old knows he could have done no more, adding: “I can walk in the paddock with my head held high.
“I’m not vindictive, I don’t hold grudges. I’m straight and honest, I understand the business and I’ve put everything I can into getting there. I’ll continue to put everything in because the important bit for me is driving the cars. That’s the bit you want to be doing.”
Jenson Button, meanwhile, heads into the winter break with a smile back on his face. Button’s fourth place in Sunday’s Brazilian GP represented a minor victory at the end of McLaren’s worst season for 33 years. But for that placing then McLaren would have suffered an all-time low since they were founded in 1966, although it was still one that ended without a podium for the first time since 1980.
After starting 14th at Interlagos at the weekend, Button was rightly proud for once this season. “I got the best result of the year at the last race, so we’ve made some progress, and more importantly it puts a smile on the face of everyone in this team who has been through such a tough year,” he said. “I’m happy, though, the season is over.”