As the formalities of silly-season speculation came to a close with the Formula One line-ups of this morning, it was only a matter of time before one of it’s alumni was announced to return to a former stomping ground.
Paul di Resta, who was racing in the Sahara Force India team until the end of last season, returns back to action in the DTM, rejoining the Mercedes-Benz team alongside Gary Paffett, with both drivers having won the title in 2010 and 2005 respectively.
The Scot’s return to the premier touring car series now increases the ranks of former champions that are currently active to seven, which is showing that the series will be competitive when the lights go out in Hockenheim this coming May.
Di Resta, who finished twelfth in last year’s F1 Drivers Championship, was on official testing duty at Portimão today as he got behind the wheel of the C-Class AMG Coupe after being officially unveiled as the second driver at Mercedes. The hard work continues during the off-season, which could point towards a potential resurgence for Stuttgart after what was a disappointing 2013 campaign.
The 27-year-old knows that there is a steep mountain to climb with the new challenge ahead, as the new cars are very different to what he drove in 2010 before moving up into Formula One. However he’s happy to be back and is eager to get back to winning ways once again: “It feels really good to be back in the DTM and to see so many familiar faces again. The DTM is a fantastic racing series with three strong premium brands, a very competitive field and a very evenly matched bunch of drivers.
“Starting with today’s first test, I’ll be going flat out in order to be capable of winning at the Hockenheim season opener in early May.”
Di Resta’s association with Mercedes started back in 2000, and he has even beaten current four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel back in the F3 Euroseries in 2006 for the title itself, before Vettel moved to F1 and the Scot headed for DTM.
Head of Motorsport Toto Wolff welcomed back the former champion,who is just a part of the completed line-up that is not yet fully confirmed: “He has been a member of the Mercedes-Benz family for many years, and we are delighted that he is returning to the fold this season to further strengthen our DTM squad. Paul has learned a lot during the past few years in Formula 1, and, together with Gary, we now have two experienced drivers in our team, who have already won the DTM title with Mercedes-Benz and can put their knowledge to good use on the track, whilst passing on hints and tips to our Mercedes juniors.”
There still remains the question of just who will be racing for Stuttgart alongside the two former champions, as well as Audi Sport also not having fully revealed the remaining drivers for the 2014 championship. It is a case of waiting patiently until the truth is revealed.