Paul di Resta believes he is as prepared as he can be to make his grand prix debut with Force India in Bahrain on March 13.
The 24-year-old Scot has finally been confirmed alongside Adrian Sutil in Force India's race lineup, after a year serving in the team's test and reserve role – a position that has now been filled by Williams refugee Nico Hulkenberg. Having taken part in several Friday practice sessions as well as "young driver" tests for the team, di Resta feels he is well placed to take advantage of his chance in F1.
"Obviously, I know the team very well, and understanding how people work and the systems and procedures in place gives a real advantage as everything you do is improving, rather than learning from scratch," said the reigning DTM champion. "I will also know some of the circuits from my Friday experience so getting up to speed on those weekends will be quicker and easier. It's an ideal position to be in when you make your race debut.
"I've been working on fitness to be completely 'race fit' and I'll have some simulator sessions before the start of the testing program," he added. "We will decide the days I will do very shortly, but I should be in the car at each of the tests to make sure the team and I have as much information as possible about the new car and its behavior.
"I've been spending as much time as I can in the factory as well – even though I know the team very well from last season, I am strengthening those relationships so we function at our best level as a team.
Di Resta says his target this year is to finish in the points as often as possible, adding that he was pleased that he would able to draw on the experience of not only Sutil but also the team's new signing Hulkenberg, who raced for Williams throughout 2010 and took pole position for the Brazilian Grand Prix.
"Initially it will be to learn from the bottom up and create a solid foundation," said of his 2011 objectives. "Learn the tracks, understand the car and get the information everyone needs to achieve the ambitious goals we have set ourselves. To do this, we need to finish as many races as possible and to make sure that when we finish we're in the points.
"Having two teammates whohave competed in F1 is an advantage as you have people who know the tracks, the business and how to deal with certain situations you only get when you are racing. Equally I hope that I can bring some experience from my outings last year, what I know about the team and a different perspective on things. I think we'll complement each other."