Di Resta ready to take on best of Britain

London: Lewis Hamilton will be just another rival for Paul di Resta to beat when they line up on the Formula One starting grid in March, even if the young Scot`s manager may not see it that way.

Di Resta, announced as a Force India driver on Wednesday to complete a British trio in F1 of 2008 world champion Hamilton and 2009 title-holder Jenson Button, is managed by Hamilton`s father Anthony.

"Anthony is doing the work in the background. He`s been a part of making the deal come together," Formula One`s newest signing told reporters by telephone from Glasgow.

"But it`s my driving. That definitely needs to be on top form to let him do his work," added the 24-year-old who almost missed his own long-awaited presentation to the media after an early morning flight from Monaco was cancelled.

"What he did with Lewis is going to be a bit different with me. I won`t really reflect too much on what he has done in the past and just hope he advises me as professionally as he can."

Di Resta, a cousin of double Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti, said the team told him he was their 2011 race driver on Christmas Eve -- making for a pretty festive atmosphere.

He had already won the DTM (German touring car) title with Mercedes, who have been strong supporters, while Franchitti had clinched his third Indy Car championship in the US.

"Yes I beat Sebastian in 2006 when we were team mates but he is the current world champion and is in a good car," he said. "I hope one day we`ll be having as close a battle as we did then."

"We`ve got good respect for each other. We`re good friends and I think that`s what`s important."

Di Resta was Force India`s third driver and reserve last season, taking part in regular Friday practice sessions and impressing the team.

That track time will stand him in good stead in a sport where testing has been scaled back to cut costs and where some rookies have been thrown in at the deep end with little time to get used to the gut-wrenching power of an F1 car.

"I`m very excited about the opportunity, to finally get the drive with Force India, to continue where we left off last year," he said.

"I put a lot of effort into trying to make the team aware of what I was potentially made of. I tried to get myself as best I could for this season, in terms of fitness and how my approach should be."

Scotland`s former world champions Jackie Stewart and the late Jim Clark scored points on their Formula One debuts, as indeed did Englishman Hamilton, and Di Resta hoped he could follow in their footsteps.

"I certainly hope so. It would be a nice way to kick off the season," he said.

"I believe the car will be nice and fast and reliable but we will only know its true pace when it gets on the track in February. Indications are showing relatively positive, where we want to be, but it`s just a waiting game and you are not really sure where other people are."

"It`s exciting times. Formula One is probably at its peak just now," added Di Resta. "The lineups are great, they are not going to change too much at the front so everybody is going to be in top form. It`s going to be difficult."

Bureau Report

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