Paul di Resta, Zak Brown, United Autosports, Daytona, 2018

Di Resta to serve as McLaren’s ‘standby driver’ for Silverstone

2020 British Grand Prix

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Paul di Resta will serve as McLaren’s ‘standby driver’ for this weekend’s race at Silverstone.

McLaren has an arrangement to use Mercedes’ reserve drivers if needed. However with Stoffel Vandoorne on Formula E duty in Berlin, and Esteban Gutierrez unable to race as he is ineligible for a superlicence, the team has made arrangements for di Resta to serve as their substitute this weekend.

McLaren has already conducted a seat fitting for Di Resta at the McLaren Technology Centre today. He will be present at Silverstone as a presenter for Sky television, and McLaren confirmed he will not be in close contact with them unless he is needed to replace Lando Norris or Carlos Sainz Jnr.

Di Resta previously raced for Force India, now Racing Point, and made his most recent Formula 1 start in the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix as a substitute for Felipe Massa at Williams. He has also driven for McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown’s United Autosports sportscar team.

Racing Point also shares reserve drivers with McLaren and Mercedes. However due to the unavailability of Vandoorne and Gutierrez last weekend, it called up Nico Hulkenberg to stand in after Sergio Perez tested positive for Covid-19, and will do so again if Perez is unable to compete this weekend.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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33 comments on “Di Resta to serve as McLaren’s ‘standby driver’ for Silverstone”

  1. Just get Martin Brundle in there already!

  2. Spicy! Does Paul have a superlicense?

    1. Spicy! Does Paul have a superlicense?

      Nevermind, answered my own question – Paul’s single race for Williams in 2017 qualifies him to race.

      1. @James Norris Which happened three years ago.

      2. The funny thing is that he didn’t have a superlicense when he drove in 2017.

      3. Once again, this proves how stupid this rule is. At least Di Resta is still active in WEC (LMP2 class), so he should still be relatively fit, so a more race ready option than Button.

        1. Button is very fit and if i dare to say more fit then most drivers in F1.

          1. He may seem fit when you’re frisking with him, but …..

  3. Nothing against Di Resta but in 2017 he was, how you say it. Not very fast..

    1. Not very fast is better than not running at all, and likely safer than calling in an F2 driver.

    2. No-one is very fast in a Williams.

    3. Not many drivers to choose from. Even Sirotkin isn’t available. Palmer must have a gig elsewhere you would hope.

    4. To be fair, i don’t think too many people would be quick in the circumstances he had in 2017. He hadn’t driven an F1 car since 2013, He had never driven one of the new era of Turbocharged hybrid cars, had no practical knowledge of the tyres and had never even sat in that Williams.

      He then got no practice and was sent on his way into qualifying, his first ever full lap in that car, in this era, was his first qualifying run!, the fact he put in some semi respectable times in itself was a miracle.

      Makes Hulkenbergs comeback of only being out 8 months and getting 3 practice sessions look like easy street.

      1. And Hulkenberg still was kinda far off Lance Stroll, who nobody here regards as a top gun, so whatever Di Resta accomplished back then wasn’t bad at all.

        1. Fp1 Nico was far behind 0.8 but every pratice he came closer in FP3 0.1 seconds only

  4. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I didn’t realise it was this desperate though.

  5. Wouldn’t Jensen Button be a better candidate? He also raced in 2017 and knows McLaren better than DiResta.

    1. Jensen has to want to race and if we look closer he doesn’t want to race anymore. That is the feeling i get when he talks F1.

  6. As we saw with Nico Hulkenberg, fitness, especially the neck muscles, can be a problem. Hopefully Paul has been keeping up with his exercises.

  7. I’m no fan or hater of Di Resta or Gutierrez, but I do think it’s a bit odd that Di Resta is eligible to race in F1 when he’s only done 1 race in the last 7 years, whereas Gutierrez has done 40 races in the same period of time and isn’t eligible.

  8. Pretty funny that the FIA have accidentally managed to create a scenario with the super license that means drivers who haven’t raced an F1 car in 3 years can’t drive, but someone who hasn’t really raced in F1 for 7 years can because he made a one off last second appearance trundling around at the back 3 years ago….

    And that’s no slight at all on PDR or his performance for Williams at Hungary, which was pretty impressive given the circumstances of no practice and having never driven this generation of car, let alone the actual car in question before going into qualy!

    But it’s not more relevant for qualifying for super license in 2020 over somebody like Gutierrez or even somebody Nico Rosberg if he could ever be tempted out for a one off comeback!

  9. @keithcollantine Hey Keith, could you make an article about what drivers that currently have a valid Super License or are eligible for one? I can’t find it anywhere on the internet, only the point scoring system.

  10. The funny thing is that he didn’t have a superlicense when he drove in 2017.

    1. Sorry, that was an answer to a previous comment. However I would like to ellaborate. It wasn’t reported in 2017 but he didn’t meet the requirements to race back them. Claire William’s comments gave more clues. If I remember correctly she said she was thankful to Toto Wolf for calling Jean Todt and ask him to allow di Resta to race for Williams as a personal favor.

  11. So he is not gonna stick to the reporting stuff?

    1. Lol. He ain’t good at that either. Maybe he should join the “cleaning stuff”

  12. I don’t understand why anyone would want Di Resta… There HAS to be a better option out there. Paul was average to begin with but on top of that, he’s only done 1 race in the hybrid era, as a very hurried substitute to Massa in Hungary 2017. There must be someone out there with more (and more recent) experience in F1.

    Can McLaren really afford a subpar substitute when they are fighting for third in the WCC?

  13. All these rules all designed after Max Verstappen moved to F1 from F3. He proved such an upset, that entire super-license system was created.

    All these ruled born out of a non-issue.

    Now F1 teams are forced to bring in former drivers, while young guys are left hanging, and opportunities for new drivers dwindle.

  14. Sneaking a pundit in one of the cars is just another ingenious plan by Sky in attempt to bring back the popular grid walks.

  15. Why not Hulk?
    Let’s face it, Racing P won’t give him a car that starts up on Sundays.

  16. Amazing how many teams seem to use the Mercedes reserve drivers, Especially seeing as one of them isn’t even qualified to race! If there was suddenly a number of drivers out with Covid, I wonder which teams have got the priority to have the drivers race for them (after Mercedes of course)

  17. I’m shocked that so many lawyers in F1 this wasn’t covered – every team needs a reserve with an active super licence. maybe in normal years it’s rare enough that multiple teams could share a FIA qualified reserve driver but during covid you’d have thought the guys that read the rule books would be all over this. Maybe Liberty should hire Hulk as the standby for all teams :)

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