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Di Resta set to replace Sutil in 2009 - report UPDATE #3 (GMM)  Despite recently saying Force India will field an unchanged driver lineup in 2009, things have now changed, team co-owner Vijay Mallya has hinted.

The team's wide-ranging collaboration with McLaren-Mercedes was unveiled on Monday, sparking the Indian billionaire's admission that he is likely to bow to advice about who should occupy the Force India cockpits.

"They will recommend what they believe to be in the best interests of my team and I have to decide.  And I would be hard pressed to ignore their advice," he is quoted as saying by Reuters.

The Scottish DTM driver Paul di Resta is on the verge of being promoted by McLaren into formula one, and the Spanish media speculated that McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa could be another option for a Force India race seat.

Mallya recently said he was happy about keeping Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil next year, but on Monday admitted he does not "at present" intend to change those plans with regards to 2009.

"I haven't gone into any details on drivers yet," Mallya, who has dismissed team and technical chiefs Colin Kolles and Mike Gascoyne, explained.

He suggested that more difficult decisions could now lie ahead.

"I am going to do whatever it takes.  There are no emotions involved."

11/09/08 Rumor has it that the Silverstone-based Force India team will sign Paul Di Resta to drive for them.  Force India has prematurely severed its ties with engine supplier Ferrari and is now expected to sign a contract with Mercedes-Benz.

Paul Di Resta
As part of the deal, the German company's Scottish protégé Paul di Resta is expected to be confirmed as part of the line-up.

Di Resta, 22-year-old cousin of 2007 Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti, succeeded Lewis Hamilton as winner of the Formula Three Euro Series. Since then he has driven for Mercedes in the Germany-based DTM touring car championship and this season finished second in the standings.

He has already tested for McLaren, Mercedes-Benz's principal F1 partner, and team chief Ron Dennis said: "Paul did a great job when we evaluated him on our simulator. We agreed to look at the possibility of integrating him within our F1 program, but not necessarily with McLaren."

Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug added: "Paul has done a brilliant job in the DTM. He has finished on the podium in 10 of his 20 races, despite sometimes driving a two-year-old car. It's a remarkable record for a young guy with no previous touring car experience. I think he's exceptional."

10/23/08 (GMM)  Paul di Resta's father has played down speculation his son is set to make his formula one debut with Force India next year.

Amid reports McLaren-Mercedes will almost certainly collaborate technically with the independent Silverstone based team next year, it is suggested that di Resta could be part of the deal.

But the 22-year-old Scottish driver's father Louis told The Sun: "We didn't know about Force India until it was mentioned in the press.

"But they have said they are keeping their drivers for next year so we have to presume that's right."

Di Resta races for Mercedes' premier effort in the German touring car series DTM, and has been recently testing for McLaren, including over two days this week.

He told the Scottish national newspaper The Scotsman: "I know there are suddenly lots and lots of people beginning to get a bit carried away with rumors, hints, guesses and pure speculation surrounding what I'm going to be doing next season.

"Next season is next season, I'll deal with that soon enough, but certainly not before the weekend," said di Resta, referring to the finale of the DTM season at Hockenheim.

He confirms that he wants to graduate to F1 as soon as possible, and is open to learning the ropes with a small team.

"Yes.  I don't see why not," said di Resta, whose cousin is the high profile racer of the American racing scene, Dario Franchitti.

10/19/08 (GMM)  Mere days after team co-owner Vijay Mallya said Force India will retain its current drivers for 2009, Adrian Sutil's seat now appears in doubt.

The Herald, a major Scottish national broadsheet newspaper, reports that local driver Paul di Resta "has been told" that he is in the running for the drive.

Di Resta, who recently made his formula one test debut with McLaren, is now set for two more days of running with the Mercedes-powered team early this week.

The 22-year-old, who races with Mercedes' premier effort in the German touring car series DTM, is reportedly a potential element of a new technical alliance between McLaren and Force India.

The Herald explained that "if he performs well" on Monday and Tuesday, di Resta "can book a place" in next season's Force India lineup.

The newspaper reports that the development is the result of talks between McLaren boss Ron Dennis and Mercedes' Norbert Haug.

None of the involved parties would comment, but Dennis said last week: "There is the possibility of Paul being integrated into formula one, not necessarily with McLaren at this stage, but he certainly has the potential to succeed in F1."

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