Pedro de la Rosa has conceded that he fears troubled F1 2010 newcomer Hispania Racing (HRT) is not 'a serious and ambitious sporting project', after admitting to being interested in joining the team for next season, but revealing that negotiations have hit an impasse
Having been dropped by Sauber midway through 2010 and having subsequently joined Pirelli as the Italian tyre-supplier's official test driver – effectively a straight swap with Nick Heidfeld
– de la Rosa has since held talks with HRT, but following a prolonged silence in discussions, the 39-year-old has now reflected that the struggling Spanish operation is relying 'heavily on sponsorship' from potential drivers...and he has none.
“I was very excited about Hispania, because I really believed they had an ambitious sporting project,” he told sports newspaper AS
, “but weeks have passed and I have not heard anything more, so I understand they have not defined the project yet.”
“There is really nothing with Hispania,” he added in an interview with Europa Press
. “I've always been very clear – with a serious and ambitious sporting project, I would love to be with them – but today, I don't know what their project is.”
Adding that should a race seat not materialise elsewhere on the grand prix grid, he 'would like' to return to his test driving job at McLaren-Mercedes – his employer from 2003 to 2009 – de la Rosa cautioned that 'we have not talked seriously' yet, and mused that the drivers with the best chance of grabbing one of the remaining available cockpits for 2011 are those with solid financial backing behind them, such as Renault's Russian rookie Vitaly Petrov.
“So many teams have not confirmed their drivers because they are looking for someone with money,” he underlined. “That's the reality and what is striking about F1 at the moment. [Petrov] was able to make his debut with a team as good as Renault
– I would love to have the same support from Spain that he has in Russia.
“Now we have to get a major sponsor to open the doors. It's always been that way, but now it's more significant because it's not just the small and the bad teams that need money from drivers.”
“I would like Pedro to be our driver because he is a friend and he deserves it,” confirmed HRT team owner José Ramón Carabante, “but we are not in a rush on the matter of drivers.”