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Di Resta sets sights on fast start to 2013 season

Paul di Resta is confident Force India can start the new Formula One season on a stronger footing than 12 months ago after helping the team take the wraps off their new car at Silverstone this morning.

Di Resta's Force India team finished seventh in the constructors' championship in 2012
Di Resta's Force India team finished seventh in the constructors' championship in 2012

With the VJM06, Force India will be looking to build on a 2012 season that saw them finish seventh in the constructors' championship thanks to a series of impressive drives from Di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg, who has left to join Sauber.

The Silverstone-based team have been comfortably ensconced in midfield for several years now, but Scot Di Resta - preparing for his third season with Force India - knows a strong start to 2013 is vital if they are to move up the order.

Asked if Force India were ready to kick on, Di Resta, who is the cousin of racer Dario Franchitti, said: "That has to happen and there's no reason why we shouldn't.

"I think the pressure is on all the departments to make sure we start better; last year we underperformed, certainly until the European season kicked in.

"We did get some good results before that, in the rain in Malaysia and in Bahrain, where we just got everything together and managed to achieve something remarkable that early in the season.

"We need to launch a car, understand it, and bring a race package to it.. that needs to make the car quicker than when it rolled out on the first day."

Force India say the VJM06 is a "brand new car from the ground up" and 26-year-old Di Resta is confident about his chances of finally landing a maiden F1 podium, with last year's fourth place in Singapore his best result in 39 races to date.

"I'm feeling very good, I must say," he said. "I'm working very closely with my team of people. We're all trying to do the best job possible.

"Whether it's managing time and making sure you're in the best frame of mind or whether that's on-track performance and the finer details of the car set-up, ultimately it's all about performance and results.

"I know the way this team works and they know how I work. When it all gels well we can obviously see the results we get.

"We just need to make sure we can achieve that on a more consistent basis."

Di Resta took centre stage at today's unveiling as there was still no word on his team-mate in 2013.

Following Hulkenberg's departure, the seat alongside Di Resta is one of only three currently remaining on the grid, along with vacancies at Marussia and Caterham.

Jules Bianchi, who was Force India's third driver in 2012, was widely expected to be formally announced as a race driver for 2013, but the Frenchman was instead present at the launch of the new Ferrari at Maranello this morning as part of the Italian team's driver academy.

When asked about the identity of their new driver at the launch, deputy team principal Robert Fearnley told the assembled media: "We do not want to confuse the two stories."

Team principal Dr Vijay Mallya elaborated by insisting their driver search had been thorough and expressed his confidence that they will have a strong pairing come the opening round in Australia on March 17.

"We had a shortlist and have considered every driver who is available," Mallya said. "We are very close to making our decision and I can assure you that we will arrive in Australia with one of the most exciting pairings on the grid."

The car is the third of the four 2013 cars unveiled so far to have foregone the use of a visible stepped nose which was such a prominent feature of last season.

So far only Lotus' E21 has featured a prominent step-nose design.

Force India technical director Andrew Green said the step was still on the car, albeit disguised behind some subtle aerodynamic housing.

"The biggest thing that everybody's going to notice this year is the fairing on top of the nose to hide the step," Green said.

"It's neutral as far as the car's performance is concerned but tidies up the flow over the top of the chassis, so it's a small thing really."

Discussing the new car in general, Green added: "It's a brand-new car from the ground up, everything is new.

"We discussed carrying over big chunks of last year's car, including the chassis, but decided not to.

"There were still some gains to be had with the chassis, so we elected to take the performance benefits.

"However, the car is evolution rather than revolution compared with last year, simply because of the nature of the regulations."

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