Is Paul di Resta overrated?
27-year-old Scottish driver Paul di Resta, who has just completed his third full time season in Formula One, is used to getting a spruce up from the British media.
di Resta now finds himself without a drive in Formula One for the 2014 season, with his seat at Force India having been taken by ex-McLaren driver Sergio Perez.
But does di Resta really deserve to race on in the premier open-wheel championship?
It would be too harsh to just say no, but in reality for now he has more or less been hovering around the same part of the grid for the last three years.
When he debuted in 2011 for Force India, di Resta was given admired and dubbed ‘rookie of the year’ by many international publications including the highly accredited Autosport.
And indeed he was impressive that year, out-qualifying his more experienced teammate in Adrian Sutil 6-2. His best finish in 2011 was a sixth in Singapore.
The following year, di Resta was out-shone easily by the supremely talented Nico Hulkenberg.
Hulkenberg was able to put Force India in contention for a podium in Belgium and then was leading the race in Brazil until his collision with Lewis Hamilton. Di Resta meanwhile would take to blaming the car for his misfortunes.
The criticisms continued in 2013, where di Resta had an unfortunate streak of DNFs from Hungary to Korea. 50% were technical maladies while the other 50% were driver error.
When you compare Hulkenberg to di Resta, despite the former having had more experience in the sport, Hulkenberg is the better driver.
Even in his rather terrible Sauber car of 2013, the German was able to salvage three to beat his former teammate by only three points.
Hulkenberg even was starting to threaten top drivers such as Hamilton and Fernando Alonso on track while di Resta would be blaming his team for not giving him a good enough car.
And then the comparison with Perez is drawn, the Mexican is hands down the better driver. You only need to look at his CV which has three podiums with a career best of second place in Malaysia 2012 and then in Canada that same year.
Perez has also driven for McLaren, one of the top teams in the sport (although this was not one of their best years). Not bad for a 23 year old.
UK broadcaster Sky Sports took to asking Perez upon his Force India appointment over where he thinks the Scottish driver would end up. Is that really appropriate? Right after he has just taken his job.
In the end, Force India has a solid, young and talented partnership for 2014 in Hulkenberg and Perez.
Di Resta needed to have pencilled in those flash numbers like his successors have in their short careers.
Money would be the Scot’s saving grace to stay in the sport, albeit with a team lower in the pecking order, which would spark more criticism.
However the Scottish investment management group that backs di Resta do not have the same funds as say the PDVSA or Petrobras have in supporting a driver.
It is likely now that he may return to DTM in Germany.
So Roarers, how do you all see Paul di Resta? Does he deserve to stay in F1 without strong financial backing and an average looking CV?