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British DTM stars testing F1 cars

Mercedes DTM stars Paul di Resta and Gary Paffett are both set for roles as test drivers with F1 teams next year.

And di Resta, who says he is in the final stages of securing the third driver’s job at Force India, aims to convince the team by 2011 that he can do a better job than one of its existing race drivers.


Long-time McLaren tester Paffett has confirmed that he will continue in his duties with the team, quashing rumours that he might move to the Brawn/Mercedes squad instead. His former colleague Pedro de la Rosa, who has worked for McLaren since 2004, has just been confirmed in a race drive for Sauber.

Meanwhile di Resta says he is “90 per cent there” in his quest to secure a test drive with Vijay Mallya’s Silverstone-based squad.

Paffett, who first worked as a McLaren tester in 2006, and who was runner-up and the top Mercedes driver in last year’s DTM championship, has dismissed the idea that he could switch from his long-time employer to the Brawn/Mercedes outfit instead.

Speaking at the Autosport International show, he said: “I will continue the testing work with McLaren to try to develop the car and help the all-British team to win championships.

“I haven’t been involved with the Mercedes team. I’ve got a job in DTM with Mercedes and a job in Formula 1 with McLaren.

“There is still a relationship between the two through the engines and, although there is a rivalry there now, I’m very much with McLaren in F1 and Mercedes in DTM.”

Interviewed at the same venue, di Resta said: “We are in the final stages of finishing off for the programme they have set. Hopefully we can build a very long and strong relationship for me to try and race with Force India in the future.

“The two drivers they have – Adrian did a very good job last year, and also Tonio. It is a fight to get a seat and I am going to try and fight for that – and to prove to Force India that I am capable of getting in that car and doing the same job they can, if not better.”

He said he was unsure whether he would be racing in DTM next year and rumours are linking compatriot and veteran F1 driver David Coulthard, already slated for a move into sportscars, with his seat.


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