Pedro de la Rosa has admitted that he is likely to walk away from Formula 1 at the end of the forthcoming campaign should he not secure a racing role in 2010.
The Spaniard made his grand prix debut with Arrows a decade ago in 1999, and since then he has started 72 races including stints with Jaguar and McLaren, with a highest championship placing of eleventh in 2006, a campaign in which he only competed in the last eight outings in the place of Juan-Pablo Montoya, who had jumped ship from Woking mid-season to return to the United States.
de la Rosa's best result in the top flight was the runner-up position to Honda's Jenson Button in the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix, and he has troubled the scorers on nine further occasions over the course of his career. It is understood that his McLaren contract expires this year.
He was briefly linked to a racing return with the newly Mercedes-powered Force India in 2009 prior to the announcement that both Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil were to be retained by the Silverstone-based squad, but he now knows that – at 38, some two years older than the current oldest driver on the grid – time is fast running out.
What's more, the new in-season testing restrictions have left the Barcelona native with only 'a few days' in the cockpit during the year, and he has confessed that there is only a 'small' possibility of a race seat at Force India in 2010. The final curtain call, he clearly feels, is beckoning.
“If I cannot race and I cannot even test, I will go to another category,” de la Rosa told Spanish media. “Life does not end at Formula 1.”