sport

Force India close on new driver

Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley says a decision on their second driver is likely to be announced early next week.

Fernley had suggested at the launch of this year's car on February 1 the team would confirm Paul di Resta's team-mate by the start of this week's second test at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

Instead, Force India have opted for what is effectively a shoot-out between former driver Adrian Sutil and current reserve Jules Bianchi.

Sutil, with the Silverstone-based marque for five years before being axed at the end of 2011, is in the car on Thursday, with Bianchi taking up the wheel on Friday.

Asked about the possibility of a decision next week, Fernley said: "It would be good.

"We're giving everyone the amount of mileage they need. We'll try and get all the information we've been collecting to the shareholders this weekend and then it's their decision.

"We want to make sure it's an even playing field for everybody and that, more importantly, they (Sutil and Bianchi) have the opportunity to get used to the car.

"Obviously one of them will come through and we don't want to disadvantage them in any way."

The third and final four-day test begins next Thursday in Barcelona, with the obvious ideal for Force India to resolve the impasse prior to then to ensure Di Resta and his team-mate get two days apiece in the car.

Di Resta's only concern is his new team-mate pulls his weight and drives the team on.

"I know both very well. They're both good people, and they've both been part of the team for a long time," said Di Resta.

"It's all up to the board members, the key people in the team. They make the decision as to who they want to partner me.

"I'm very supportive of whoever it might be as long as they're pushing me on and they're a team player; that's the important part."