Paul di Resta admits the pressure is firmly on his shoulders as is charged with leading Force India in his third season
The Scot is remaining with Force India for this year’s Championship but has yet to learn who his new team-mate will be.
Force India were left looking for a new driver when Nico Hulkenberg moved over to Sauber and reports claim former driver Adrian Sutil and third driver Jules Bianchi are the frontrunners.
But which of the two the team opts to sign, di Resta will be the unofficial number one as Sutil has not raced for a season and Bianchi has yet to contest even a single grand prix.
“There’s more pressure than ever probably on me because it’s my third year,” the 26-year-old told Sky Sports F1.
“But believe me, there’s more pressure to achieve what I want to achieve and ultimately that’s why I’m in the position I am because I’ve dealt with pressure through my life.”
Added to that there is also the desire to move up the order with di Resta hoping that a great season would put him firmly in the hunt for a top drive.
“Without letting your mind wander to next year, [but it’s] exciting times, new engines, new generation of car, different power units, a bit more electric power in there. It’s all unknown, it’s not decided yet, it’s a long way away, it’s 20 grands prix weekends, it’s 20 weekends of stress, high pressure environment but enjoyment, celebration…
“But reputation in Formula 1, securing a drive, is the main focus and making sure you’re in the seat come 2014 round one.”
Focusing on this season, though, di Resta reckons Pirelli could once again play a key role in a campaign in which he hopes to score “a lot of points.
“The new tyres are going to throw up a few surprises. The construction’s a bit different, the compounds. Pirelli have been quite vocal and said they’re going to make it more of a headache for us - I think it’s great. Why shouldn’t it be?
“Ultimately for a team like us, we can take a bit more of an aggressive approach, we can get the big boys at the front of the race and they eat up their tyres in qualifying for their ultimate performance.
“It all adds up through the weekend and I think, me as a driver, I think I’m probably one of the ones that can adapt to try and save tyres but getting the speed.”