17 May 2013

Di Resta's great weight

With the 2013 Formula 1 season looking like being a straight fight between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso, for fans of the British drivers a long season of not very much at all looms ahead. 

Lewis Hamilton has made no secret of his displeasure with his Mercedes car – and while desire to achieve is vital for any sportsman you have to hope he learns how to cope with setbacks a little better than he's done in the last couple of years – and Jenson Button is fast achieving laid back Dad status with his resigned, good humoured acceptance of one of McLaren's occasional disaster wagons.

Leaving rookie Max Chilton to find his feet at the back of the grid, main interest lies in Paul Di Resta and his need to put in a consistent, solid season, with the odd highlight when he breaks out from midfield and mixes things with the top dogs. 

His fourth place in Bahrain certainly counts as the latter, while a respectable seventh in Barcelona fits the bill for the latter. It could be argued that he should have found a way past Nico Rosberg with his fresher tyres toward the end of the race, but against that is the sheer power that the Mercedes works engine contains when measured against Force India's customer Merc unit.

Di Resta must know, with his background, that the ultimate aim of all F1 drivers is a seat at Marinello, piloting a Ferrari. And there will be a chance for him, if he can produce the goods, for the time must be coming when the bosses at Ferrari decide Filipe Massa is not quite good enough even for a back up to Alonso.

In Barcelona last week Massa was tentative, cautious, reserved. You may argue that he finished on the podium, brought his team 15 points, so where's the beef? I would say that frankly he should have brought home the 18 points on offer for second: I think a driver like Di Resta would have done so. Plus, he is 32 against Di Resta's 27; vitally, though, the latter offers an ideal marketing opportunity for Ferrari in the UK.

Most circuits around the F1 calender are a sea of Ferrari flags, and while the UK certainly boasts plenty of fans of the Italian team, having a Brit on board would push the envelope that bit further. Massa has had a good run but sometimes a change can shake a team up for the better. The articulate, marketable Di Resta, ould give Ferrari a push off the track but also on it: a move to Ferrari would be perfect for both.

With his British and Italian heritage Di Resta understands what is needed. It's up to him to prove to Ferrari that they can't afford not to have him.

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