Bathgate’s Paul di Resta heads into unchartered territory this weekend when he, and the rest of the Formula One drivers, tackle the inaugural Indian Grand Prix.
But the significance for the 25-year-old Scot and his Sahara Force India team, who experienced of the all-new new Buddh International Circuit near Delhi for the first time yesterday, is huge.
“Being part of the first F1 Indian Grand Prix, and driving for Sahara Force India — the only Indian F1 team — is very, very special,” Di Resta explained. “This event has been a dream of our team owner Dr Vijay Mallya for something like 30 years, so to be sharing this experience with him is very satisfying.
“We’re taking F1 into a completely new culture this weekend, and already we can see it’s generated a huge following.
“The race also takes place on the last day of the five-day Diwali festival, one of the biggest — and certainly brightest — celebrations of the year in India.
“There’s no denying this is a massive race for us in a very special place, and we as a team head into it full of confidence.
“Like everyone else though, we’ll be turning up at the circuit without any experience of it. It’s a completely new facility, so all the teams and drivers are going to have to learn it from scratch.
“I’ve gained some experience of it on the simulator, but while that gives you a good basis of knowledge of the track, it doesn’t give you the subtleties and nuances,” Di Resta went on.
“The track looks good though. There are three fast straights, plus a long technical section with a big variety of corners. Plus the circuit has a lot of changes in undulation, so it’s going to be challenging.
“We know we’ll be under a lot of attention this weekend being on our ‘home’ event, so we’re determined to fight for everything we can and score some more world championship points.”
With Sebastien Vettel having already sealed his second world title, his Red Bull outfit is rumoured to be planning to use team orders to deliver his team-mate Mark Webber this weekend.
Both the McLaren drivers of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton believe the undulating, technical track suits their cars.