Di Resta is a huge asset for us, says Mallya

Di Resta is a huge asset for us, says Mallya

Force India expect Paul Di Resta to stay with them next season but would be understanding if the highly-rated British Formula One driver wanted to move elsewhere, team owner Vijay Mallya said on Thursday.

Di Resta won the German touring car championship with Mercedes in 2010 and has been touted as a possible replacement at that team for Michael Schumacher should the 43-year-old seven times champion decide to call it a day.

Schumacher's contract expires at the end of 2012.  Di Resta has also been mentioned in media speculation as a candidate to take Felipe Massa's seat at Ferrari if they decide to drop the underperforming Brazilian.  "Paul is a huge asset and a very valuable asset to us. We have secure contracts with both him and Nico (Hulkenberg), and we have an excellent relationship with both," Mallya told Reuters at the Monaco Grand Prix. 

"Should they ever want to think of going elsewhere I am sure they will come and tell us and it will be something that we will work out very amicably. I am not worried, there's no disruption that I anticipate at all,’’ he added. "We'd love to continue with our current driver lineup (next season)," added the billionaire liquor and aviation tycoon, who said both men were under contract for 2013. "In fact, I am reading everything in the press. Nobody has come and officially communicated anything to us,’’ says Mallya.

Mercedes supply Force India with engines and that team's chief executive Nick Fry said this week: "Paul is on our radar." He has done a fantastic job, he's a nice guy, he's a great team player and he would be one of the drivers undoubtedly that, if Michael were to decide he didn't want to continue, we would look at," he told Sky Sports News. He added that the Formula One team was in good financial health, despite paddock speculation to the contrary, as a joint venture with Sahara Group who have invested $100 million. "The first tranche (of Sahara money) came in 2011, the second is due in 2012 and the third in 2013," he said. "The team is already well-funded with this equity infusion. I fail to understand why people make these wild connections,’’ he said.

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