McLaren has confirmed that it has re-signed Pedro de la Rosa to act as its test and reserve driver for the 2011 F1 season.
The Spaniard first joined McLaren back in 2003 and remained with the team through until the start of 2010, when he returned to a race seat with Sauber.
Having lost his drive there towards the end of last season, de la Rosa took up a test and development role with Pirelli but with no opportunities to race in F1 again in 2011, he will now return to the Woking-based team to work alongside race drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.
“Of all the teams I've driven for in Formula 1, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is the one that really feels like home,” he said. “So I'm very excited about returning to the team to help push the development of the MP4-26.
“Lewis and Jenson already have an extremely positive and productive working relationship - so, building on and adding to their existing rapport, I'm aiming to do everything I can to help them get even more from our car, our engineers and our technical resources back at the McLaren Technology Centre.”
As well as re-signing de la Rosa, McLaren has also confirmed it will retain the services of Gary Paffett for another year, with the Briton dovetailing his role in F1 with another season racing in the DTM.
“I know I speak for all my colleagues when I say that I'm delighted that Pedro has chosen to return to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes,” team boss Martin Whitmarsh said. “He rejoins us with even greater experience, and his motivation and attention to detail remain as sharp as ever. His recruitment adds considerable strength in depth to our driver line-up.
"With two world champion race drivers in Lewis and Jenson, and two of the world's most experienced and capable development drivers in Pedro and Gary, we feel we have a quartet of talent that is absolutely second-to-none. We wish Gary a very successful season in the DTM series with Mercedes-Benz - and are delighted that, away from the world's racetracks, he'll continue to give us the benefit of his considerable technical and developmental abilities.”