Di Resta marks Merc's 125th birthday 29 | 01 | 2011

    SCOTLAND'S NEW Formula One star Paul di Resta will be one of Mercedes' top guests as the German car giant celebrates the 125th anniversary of its first 'patented automobile' in Stuttgart this evening.

    The 24-year-old from Bathgate — who will be joined by seven-times Formula One world champ Michael Schumacher, and a host of German political and industrial figureheads — will take centre stage at the celebrations in the futuristically-designed Mercedes-Benz Museum.

    "It's fantastic to be part of Mercedes celebrations because they have been pivotal to my motorsport success over the past few years," Di Resta, who won the DTM Championship for the manufacturer last year, said today.

    "Just being a small part in the history of Mercedes is a significant achievement for me and it was important for me to come to Stuttgart to be part of the celebrations."

    Mercedes will also use the occasion to reveal a new alternatively-fuelled concept car, a teaser to the fact its MFA patent is likely to centre around an automobile that can be “powered by petrol, diesel, natural gas, hydrogen and electricity”.

    This evening's event marks the granting of the patent — now considered the birth certificate of the automobile —to Karl Benz on January 29, 1886, for his "tricycle powered by an invisible source of energy".

    But on Monday, Di Resta will catapult himself to the cutting edge of technology when he starts his preparations for the first Formula One test of the season in Valencia. The Scot will drive his Mercedes-powered Force India F1 racer for the first time on Tuesday.

    Di Resta though, like his racing team-mate Adrian Sutil and reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg, will need to wait a further 10 days before getting his hands on the all-new 2011 Force India car.

    "The team is taking an updated 2010 car to the first three-day test in Spain this week," Di Resta explained. "It's great because it gives the guys back at the factory in Silverstone longer to work on the all-new 2011 car.

    "There are a lot of new rules and technical changes which are being implemented in the new car, so the longer we work on it the better it will be. We'll launch the new car at the second test in Jerez on February 10."

    All three Force India drivers will share the driving this week in Valencia. Hulkenberg, getting his first experience of the Force India car, will drive on Tuesday morning before handing it over to Di Resta in the afternoon. The Scot will continue testing on Wednesday before Sutil takes over on Thursday.

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    Jim McGill

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