F1: McLaren chief expects Di Resta to prosper

McLAREN boss Martin Whitmarsh has revealed Bathgate's Paul Di Resta will go head-to-head with established Force India racers, Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi, when his new role as reserve driver for the Formula One team is confirmed next week.

While the 23-year-old continues to finalise the last few details on the contract which will propel him closer to a place on the grand prix grid, McLaren team principal Whitmarsh has confirmed the Scot will play a pivotal role for Force India. "Paul will be running, I believe, in the majority of the Friday sessions at grand prix weekends for Force India, so it's a great opportunity for him," Whitmarsh said.

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"I'm happy for him. He's going to push like hell to make his case to have a race drive at Force India during the course of this year."

Di Resta, who worked with Whitmarsh when he tested with McLaren in 2008, has already impressed team bosses at Force India. During his three-day test at Jerez last month, the Scot lapped a full second faster than the team's established drivers.

"Since the test, for sure we have been in talks," the Scot said. "We are in the final stages of finishing off the programme they have set and hopefully we can build a very long and strong relationship."