On the back of a good fourth place in Singapore Paul di Resta is at the centre of silly season as it continues to gather pace. Having had a strong rookie season in 2011 and with an ever impressive second year in the Force India car di Resta has been linked with top teams Mercedes and Ferrari. However in his short time in F1 has he really done enough to deserve a seat at a top team or is he simply just a little overrated?
There is no denying that the British media have been slightly overzealous with their appreciation for di Resta. In his rookie season against teammate Adrian Sutil you could have thought that di Resta had finished that particular battle on top if you followed the picture painted by the media. Instead di Resta finished on 27 points and 13th in the championship to Suitl’s 49 points and ninth place.
His performance in his rookie season is impressive however some silly mistakes crept into his driving as the season went on. Overambitious overtakes in Canada and Monaco led to drive through penalties and lack of points on both those occasions. There were undoubtedly highlights such as qualifying sixth at Silverstone and a sixth place finish at the Singapore Grand Prix. Whether more should be expected from a rookie is an open question but to finish top out of all the rookies suggests that his performance was more than sufficient.
In the 2012 season it is fair to say that di Resta is much more evenly matched against teammate Nico Hulkenberg. Di Resta currently leads Hulkenberg in the standings and both have career best fourth place results this season. Still it has to be said that the British media continue to promote di Resta as the next big thing and some of the hype may be justified. However overall when assessing all the seat options next season it looks as though di Resta could have a hard task moving upwards.
As a former Mercedes DTM driver he has strong links with the Mercedes F1 team, but the opportunity for a race seat there is dependent on Michael Schumacher retiring. Even then a seat may not be available if rumours surrounding Lewis Hamilton are true, that in turn opens up a seat at McLaren and di Resta will most likely be on their list but how close to the top is unknown. Rumours continue to link his name to Ferrari but with more impressive results coming from the likes of Sergio Perez a move to Ferrari is more unlikely than a move to Mercedes.
Di Resta and the British media may feel he has done enough to secure a top seat next season but all the teams that are looking for new drivers have an abundance of them to choose from. There is no doubt that di Resta is a talented driver but whether that talent extends to winning races and championships is questionable. He may be better suited to another season with Force India, where he is understood to be contracted to for 2013, rather than a exploratory year for a demanding top team.