Today marks a special day for two members of the Formula 1 fraternity, with Force India’s Paul di Resta celebrating his 25th birthday today, while former F2 driver Christijan Albers turns 32!
Hugely regarded by those in the know, Paul di Resta is one of the few drivers to have beaten reigning Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel in a same-make championship after he took the 2006 Formula 3 Euroseries title as the German’s team-mate.
In his formative years, di Resta – cousin to IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti – was a sensation in karting and won the 2004 McLaren/Autosport BRDC Award, and took the unusual step of moving into touring cars (with support from Mercedes-Benz) after his F3 title win.
The DTM was the logical choice, and Di Resta sensationally led the championship during his maiden season in older-spec equipment, and he was quickly promoted to the frontline HWA team for the 2008 season.
Narrowly missing out on the title in 2008 and losing out again the next year when he started the championship race a little too slowly, di Resta was sublime in 2010 – the same year that he started dovetailing his tin-top duties with being Force India’s test and reserve driver – taking a succession of wins and the title.
To-date, his F1 outings have been very impressive and it would appear that Force India has a potential giant-killer on its books. Despite the team’s difficult start to its 2010 championship campaign, di Resta has out-qualified team-mate Adrian Sutil in both races to-date, and finished in the point in each.
An impressive performer in the European junior scene, Dutchman Christijan Albers’ rise to Formula 1 also came via a stint in the DTM series, where he finished as the championship runner-up in 2003.
In the latter stages of his DTM career, Albers was also on the books as a little-used Minardi test driver, but he was appointed to a full-time race seat for the team’s final season in 2005.
He performed solidly in the little-funded and developed PS05, but Minardi’s buy-out by Red Bull meant that he wasn’t considered in the team’s plans for 2006, and so he moved to the Midland squad for 2006. This later became Spyker in 2007, and he was dropped mid-season when his sponsorship ran dry.
Albers returned to the DTM scene and now races in the Le Mans Series.
Click here for Christijan Albers’ complete F1 results.