Team boss Peter Sauber has revealed that Pedro de la Rosa's inconsistent results were the reason that his F1 comeback was curtailed at the end of the European season.
The Spaniard ended a seven-year hiatus largely spent testing for McLaren when he signed a race deal with BMW Sauber for 2010, but has failed to match up to rookie Kamui Kobayashi and eventually saw his seat handed to Nick Heidfeld in the days after the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Team boss Sauber admitted that, had the 39-year old produced results of equal calibre at each race, he would probably have seen the season out, but the up-and-down nature of his season presented the opportunity to bring in a fresh opinion on the C29 for the five 'flyaway' races that close out the campaign.
"Nick will help us assess how good our car really is," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport
in the build-up to this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix. "When we looked at the first 14 races, Kobayashi and de la Rosa had approximately the same speed, but not consistently enough. With Kobayashi, you expect that from a newcomer...
Kobayashi has already been handed a contract extension by the Swiss team for next season, but Heidfeld's situation remains unclear beyond the 2010 finale in Abu Dhabi. Whether or not he is retained by Sauber, however, the German's experience - and consistency - is being prized by the midfield outfit.
"With Heidfeld, we know that he can drive consistently, but I don't expect marvellous things from him first time out, because he has to get used to the car and tyres," Sauber reasoned. "He will show us what he can do at Suzuka."
de la Rosa has admitted that he will probably watch this weekend's Singapore GP on the television before taking up Heidfeld's testing role with 2011 tyre supplier Pirelli.