Paul di Resta, as announced by Force India a couple of weeks ago, has been confirmed for the Jerez test, while joined by American rising star JR Hildebrand, reigning champion of the Indy Lights championship in North America (feeder series for the Indy Car Series).
As announced by the team's co-owner Vijay Mallya, the two drivers will test-drive for a place in the Silverstone-based outfit next year, as the one who impresses him the most will likely become test or reserve driver for the team throughout 2010.
“We are delighted to have Paul and JR join us for the young driver test. Both of their showings in the simulator were excellent and we had no hesitations in offering them some valuable testing. We will be looking at their performance on track very closely and should they perform well, as we are confident they will, we will look at a permanent role for one within the team in 2010, potentially as a test and reserve driver,” said Mallya.
23-year old Di Resta, former vice-champion in the DTM series and the most promising young stars in the Mercedes-Benz young drivers programme, admitted his excitement over getting to debut at the wheel of an F1 machinery.
“It's an exciting opportunity for me as F1 has always been my dream and I feel this is taking me one step closer to achieving it. I'm realistic that I've got a lot to prove and that I need a bit more experience of the cars and the F1 environment before getting a permanent seat but this is just the beginning of what I hope will be a very bright future with Force India. I'd like to thank Mercedes for giving me this opportunity and to Force India for being so supportive,” said the former McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award winner.
Hildebrand, on the other hand, has also been linked with a potential link to US Grand Prix Engineering (US F1). However, getting his first taste of F1 with Force India might change his plans for the future.
“I'm ecstatic to get my first taste of F1. I've heard so much about the performance of the cars and know this is going to be quicker and more responsive than anything I've ever sat in before. I know it's a big challenge but I feel ready to tackle it. The aim is to learn the track and the car and then hopefully show my potential,” said the 21-year old California native.