Pedro de la Rosa has said he has joined HRT for the long term, even if he knows the challenge ahead won't be easy.
The Spaniard was officially presented today as an HRT F1 Team driver following confirmation on Monday that he had inked a two-year deal with the outfit [see separate story - click here
]. The presentation took part at the 'Consejo Superior de Deportes' in Madrid and was attended by Saúl Ruiz de Marcos, HRT F1 Team's CEO, Luis Pérez-Sala, HRT F1 Team's sports advisor, Carlos Gracia, president of the Real Federación Española de Automovilismo and Matilde García, CSD, general director.
“This is a very special day and I'm very happy to be in the company of, not only Luis and Saúl as representatives of HRT, but also Carlos Gracia and Matilde García, who are the main representatives of two organisations that have backed me since I started my career,” said de la Rosa. “Returning to active competition is something that makes me very happy and even more so to do it with a Spanish team.
“The first time we spoke in July I didn't see myself as part of this project. However, meeting Saúl and the fact that Luis, one of my idols, is part of the team, finding out more about the project and to see that, little by little, what they told me was materialising is what convinced me. I said to myself, I have to be there!
“It's a huge task but also a fascinating one. We know that it's not going to be easy but I'm going to contribute work, experience and effort so we grow together. And I hope that we can receive everyone's support so that in the near future we can feel proud of ourselves. I've come to stay and I want to thank HRT for trusting in me, but also Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes because without them I wouldn't be here and thanks to them, today I am a better driver.”
Saúl Ruiz de Marcos, HRT F1 Team CEO, meanwhile noted that he was 'excited' to have been able to sign de la Rosa: “Since we arrived a few months ago, one of the pillars upon which we wanted to base the project was having Pedro in the team,” he continued. “From day one we got straight down to work to try and convince him and after four months of negotiations I am very proud to have achieved it.
“We are on the right path, taking every step at a time and turning the project we had in mind at the beginning into reality. We are working discretely, with humility and analysis and every decision made has been premeditated to ensure that it is correct. I think we are on the right track to becoming a great Spanish team in one year's time.”
Pérez-Sala added: “We joined this project back in August and tried to convince Pedro to come on board from day one. It wasn't easy as he was very happy at Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes but, in the end, he's decided to join us and I'm very proud to have him on our team for the next two years.
“When we took on this project in August, we thought that it was necessary to define a strategy and set some solid bases and Pedro was a key factor for this project to be viable. He is a driver with a lot of talent and his experience will help us to grow in the right way.”