Di Resta: There were talks with McLaren
14 January 2013 – Paul di Resta has revealed that he was a serious candidate to replace Lewis Hamilton at McLaren this season, before the team opted to sign Sergio Pérez from rivals Sauber. The 26-year-old Scotsman is now hoping to impress throughout the campaign ahead and earn a chance at the Woking-based outfit in 2014.
"I'm not going to give away too much, but yes, there were discussions," di Resta explained at the Autosport Show in Birmingham. "I've got a great relationship with McLaren. (Team Principal) Martin Whitmarsh was actually the key person who put my name forward for Force India, and also I've been part of Mercedes-Benz for a lot of years."
"Our paths may cross. It may be in a car that's beating them and I'll have the last laugh. But if I've got to work with them, they're professional people and they win races, and that's what I'm in the sport to do."
Di Resta did not explain how serious the talks were with McLaren, but he believes Telmex-backed Pérez brought a more attractive sponsorship package to the table.
"Unfortunately in this sport now there's a little bit more to it," di Resta added. "There's a commercial side and money's tight. Pérez has some good backing.
"He's up against a big task. He's got to perform. Jenson's obviously not going to give him an easy time. Jenson is probably at his peak."
Di Resta's 2013 team-mate is yet to be announced by Force India as pre-season testing approaches, but Jules Bianchi and Adrian Sutil are the leading candidates.