sport

Mallya waiting on right driver

Force India team principal Vijay Mallya has admitted he is in no rush to announce his 2013 line-up as he assesses the driver market.

Although it has yet to be officially announced, it is widely known Paul di Resta is guaranteed his seat, leaving Mallya looking to fill the vacancy created by Nico Hulkenberg's departure to Sauber.

Adrian Sutil, who was axed at the end of last season to make way for Hulkenberg, is amongst those in the frame, along with reserve Jules Bianchi, and former Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari.

With two races remaining, in the United States on Sunday and Brazil next weekend, Mallya is content to play a waiting game.

"We have traditionally waited until the end of the season to confirm our line-up and I expect we will stick to this schedule," said Mallya.

"With the state of the driver market at the moment there is no rush to make an announcement.

"We have a shortlist and will take our time to make sure we have the fastest drivers available in our cars next season."

Mallya's immediate concern is that his team hold on to seventh place in the constructors' championship, having all but thrown in the towel on emulating last year's high of sixth position.

Sauber have moved 29 points clear of Force India, and instead the Silverstone-based marque are now looking over their shoulder as Williams are 22 points adrift.

Mallya knows the team can ill afford a repeat of the incident at the first corner in Abu Dhabi which resulted in Hulkenberg retiring and Di Resta sustaining a puncture that badly affected his race, albeit ending a run of three races without a point by finishing ninth.

Reflecting on the race at Yas Marina, Mallya said: "I have mixed feelings because we extended our run of points finishes, but on the other hand our two main rivals were ahead of us and scored well.

"The opening lap was frustrating, but we all recognise these things can happen in racing.

"The important thing is to look forward and make sure it doesn't happen again.

"Without the problems at the first corner, I'm convinced we could have been up there fighting for some bigger points."

From his perspective, Di Resta said: "It was an eventful race so we have to be happy with the points given the puncture I had on lap one.

"I think the chassis change was the right thing to do and definitely improved our performance level.

"In terms of race pace the car was strong, I overtook a lot of cars and without the puncture we could definitely have had a stronger day."