Lucas di Grassi has been named as Pirelli's new test driver, with the Brazilian set to take part in at least five tests before the end of the year.
The 26-year-old former Virgin Racing driver will attend a number of races alongside Pirelli through the remainder of the season – starting this weekend at Silverstone – in order to collect information and pass on information to Pirelli's technicians.
Di Grassi will then focus on helping Pirelli to develop the tyres that it will use during the 2012 season.
“Pirelli has done a fantastic job so far in a very short space of time and I'm looking forward to helping to make the P Zero tyres even better in the future: not just for the drivers and teams but for the spectators as well,” he said. “This is a great opportunity for me to get more time behind the wheel of a Formula One car – which is difficult these days because of the current testing regulations – and also to use my knowledge to help make a real difference to the sport.”
Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery was quick to welcome di Grassi – who tested for Pirelli last month – into the new role.
“A significant part of our tyre development stems from the feedback we receive from our test driver, so this is an absolutely crucial appointment,” he said. “Lucas has impressed us not only with his pace, which is vital if we are going to accurately simulate racing conditions, but also his technical feedback to the engineers. I'm delighted to welcome Lucas into the team.”