Paul di Resta has endured a roller coaster 2013. After pit-stop issues in Malaysia and getting stuck in a mid-field queue in China, Paul bounced back to record a strong fourth in Bahrain. Just as Force India’s fortunes looked to be on the improve, a polemical decision to change Pirelli’s tyre construction stripped the Silverstone outfit of their hard-earned advantage. Neverthless, on returning to Asia, di Resta was upbeat about the team’s prospects when he caught up with Richland F1‘s Trent Price in Singapore.
Trent Price: You’ve mentioned that your fitness baseline has improved this year after working with personal trainer, Gerry Convy. Are there any special training tricks you use here to help concentration and minimize mistakes?
Paul Di Resta: I think this is probably the grand prix that comes down to all those extra hours that you kind of pay for at night during the winter. In terms of building the baseline a bit higher this is where it counts. It’s very mentally tiring, plus you have to physically push through the pain barrier.
TP: Is it more a case of noticing, or not noticing it the next day?
PDR: I think you would feel it in the race, but I think it all depends on how you deal with heat and humidity.
TP: Super softs are back on the tyre selection this weekend. Do you think they’ll help you bring some performance back given Force India’s strong history with the tyre?
PDR: They’ve been good for us in the past few years, although I think as a team we would prefer the selection to be soft and supersoft. Thursday afternoon it’s always difficult to predict how it’s going to go, but we’ve put in a lot of extra effort in getting our performance out because we weren’t as good as we should’ve been in Monza. But I think everybody’s lifted their game and working forward.
TP: Moving away from Europe, is now a chance to press the reset button?
PDR: It is, because the last races have been difficult since they changed the tyres (construction). Monza was a shock because our car’s always been very good on a low-drag track. We struggled quite a lot there, but we’ve come here, re-baselined and tried to match as much as we can from last year. It’s the same tyre and yes the car’s slightly different but we’ve tried to match as much as we can because we produced a very strong fourth place (at Singapore) in 2012. That way if we do get back to where we were we’ll know roughly where the car’s working. (Paul finished just 4 seconds off the podium and 20 seconds ahead of the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg in 2012).
TP: Has the tightness of the mid-field pack compounded the pressure this year?
PDR: Yeah and I think where we were handling the tyre better earlier on in the season is where the difference was.
TP: Has losing the ability to go one less stop hurt in that respect?
PDR: Not really, I think we just had a very good understanding of the old tyre which unfortunately we haven’t quite found that on this tyre yet.
TP: Are you looking forward to next year? It looks like it could all fall into place if the Mercedes poweplant turns out to be a flyer.
PDR: Yes and the team did their engine deal very early because we’re very much focussed on next year because there is such a big change. I think the team have a good handle on things. They have the ability to build a car that works well, but until we see the performance of the Ferrari and Renault engines, you can never underestimate anyone in the paddock.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic.