• The Inside Line

What of Paul di Resta?

Kate Walker
November 1, 2013
© Sutton Images

The driver carousel keeps on spinning, with Pastor Maldonado now looking to be in pole position for the second seat at Lotus in 2014. The Abu Dhabi paddock was rife with speculation that Max Chilton would be moving to Force India, while the highly regarded Kevin Magnussen is said to be mulling over an offer from Caterham.

And in amongst the flurry of rumours and speculation sits Paul di Resta, whose name has not been linked with a seat for many a moon. It's something of a comedown for the man with the Mercedes backing whose name was linked with a Ferrari drive almost every week in 2012.

Di Resta had a very strong start to the season, delivering a string of sterling performances despite his team's best efforts to derail his progress at every pit stop. Then Force India were one of those teams utterly shafted by the mid-season tyre construction switch. Remember when they were ahead of technology partners McLaren in the constructors' standings? It feels like forever and a day ago.

There was then that unfortunate string of five consecutive retirements - some mechanical, some down to driver error - which formed part of a seven-race series of pointless finishes for the Scot.

While there's no good time to have a bad run of results (irrespective of whether or not those results are your fault), the absolute worst time is smack in the middle of silly season. And that is just what has happened to di Resta.

It was always unlikely that the Scottish racer would wind up at Ferrari, no matter what the rumour mill had to say on the subject. After all, di Resta's racing career has been Mercedes-backed for as long as anyone can remember, in both DTM and Formula One. Unlikely, but not impossible - just look at McLaren's Sergio Perez, formerly of the Ferrari Driver Academy.

But it is now looking increasingly likely that Paul di Resta is lining up for his last three races as a Formula One driver. The top-tier teams are all either full or considering other prospects. The middle of the pack is looking for a combination of talent and cash where possible, and di Resta doesn't bring di readies with him. As for the backmarkers? Paul needs a salary, and there's no guarantee of one that far down the pack.

Di Resta's other big problem stems back to the start of 2013, when Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda burst into Mercedes as shareholders, shaking up Brackley like a pair of maracas.

While the effects of their arrival promise to bring further change in the coming months (or sooner, if the Ross Brawn departure rumours are to be believed), one of the biggest and most immediate changes was the departure of one Norbert Haug - the man who championed Paul di Resta's career, and ensured the Scot made the move from DTM to Formula One.

No Norbert, no sponsors, and not much luck of late. Despite a strong start to the season, Paul di Resta is almost certain to be the highest profile scalp claimed by the 2013 driver carousel. Who knew a merry-go-round could be so dangerous?

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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