The McLaren team has appointed Sky Sports commentator Paul di Resta as his deputy driver for the weekend in the Silverstone F1 race.
The designation means that a television face will jump at the wheel of a McLaren drive if the team’s regular race drivers Carlos Sainz Jr. or Lando Norris are prevented from driving for one reason or another.
According to McLaren, Di Resta, 34, has already been given an appropriate seat for a possible race command.
The Scotsman, though, is not just any TV man, as he has previously competed in 59 GPs. Di Resta competed in the Force India stable car in F1 from 2011-2013. In addition to his TV work, he drives an LMP2-class car in the WEC track car series.
However, Di Resta’s experience with F1 cars in recent years is slim. Di Resta last raced in an F1 car in 2017 at the Hungarian GP when he unexpectedly got to succeed the sick Felipe Massa.
According to Autosport magazine, the Scottish driver is, according to the rules, eligible to drive an F1 car precisely because of this surprising 2011 gig in Hungary. He meets the criteria because he has driven in the F1 race still in 2017. That race ended with a rest from Di Rest.
In the driving overalls of the Paul Di Resta Force India garage in 2013.
Photo: Pablo Sanchez / Reuters
Di Resta works perfectly normally at Silverstone as an expert commentator on Sky Sports, unless the order goes to McLaren’s controllers.
Especially during the corona, however, the idea of driving Paul di Resta in the F1 car of the famous McLaren stable may not be completely ruled out ...
The restraining of Di Resta as a deputy driver became topical after Stoffel Vandoorne, who was on McLaren’s reserve, could not be appointed as a reserve for the F1 race due to his Formula E obligations.
Esteban Gutierrez was also considered a deputy driver, but he lacks the required license to be washed.