Di Resta: Stronger pre-season crucial

Paul di Resta thinks that a more aggressive pre-season development programme is key to helping Force India achieve its podium ambitions this year.

The Scotsman, who is staying at the team for a third year even though his new deal has yet to be officially confirmed, reckons it vital his outfit builds on a strong end to the 2012 Formula 1 season.

"The car is looking good," he said on the AUTOSPORT Stage with KX at AUTOSPORT International. "On paper you can see what they have tried to achieve, and it is achieving what they want to do.

"We just need to ramp up the development. Last year we got stalled a bit towards the end of testing.

"We started very well but people were bringing developments and we didn't do that.

"The team of people at Force India will ramp that up, and we need to start the season higher if we want to be competing with the likes of Lotus and Mercedes."

With his Force India team ending last year with Nico Hulkenberg leading in Brazil, di Resta believes that podium finishes are on the cards for the season ahead.

"I think we can," he said. "We nearly achieved it in Singapore and that is the thing on the cards this year.

"Vijay [Mallya] and the team are focused on achieving that. Our competitors, Williams and Sauber, they achieved that last year and we nearly did it, and the main thing we should focus on should be consistency.

"When we do get the chance to finish on the podium, we should understand why and repeat it the next week - that is the main thing.

"Having a fluke result would shine but equally you would be down the next week if you did not come close to achieving it again."

Di Resta had his seat-fitting for the 2013 car at the team's factory on Friday. But the identity of his team-mate has yet to be revealed.

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He admitted to some surprise that the line-up had not been finalised.

"I don't think it is a great position to be in at nearly middle of January and not know who it is," he said. "But the team have said that they will announce it when they are ready so I have to respect that."

When asked who he would like alongside him, di Resta said: "As long as the team-mate is fast, and has respect for me and is a team player, that is all I can ask for.

"It is when you get somebody who only has their own ambitions in mind... nowadays in F1 you need to work as a unit and you can see it gets a bit political, and that is how the sport is driven."