Pirelli has revealed that Jaime Alguersuari will join Lucas di Grassi in a testing role for the 2012 season to aid the company with development of its newest F1 tyres.
The pair will share driving duties at the wheel of a 2010 Renault R30 in four tests that will take place between May and September.
The tests will be used to help Pirelli work on its 2013 tyres while also looking at compound developments that could be brought into play during later rounds of the current season.
“I'm very happy indeed to have this fantastic opportunity,” Alguersuari, now working as a co-commentator for the BBC
after losing his drive with Toro Rosso, said. “A week ago it was my birthday, when I turned 22, and now Pirelli has given me the best possible present.
“I can't wait to get started with this very important and challenging job of developing the new tyres for the future, which I'm looking forward to a lot. I have a huge desire to get behind the wheel of a Formula One car again and return to competition, so this is a brilliant chance for me.”
Former Virgin Racing driver di Grassi meanwhile said he was delighted to return to his Pirelli role for another year, having carried out five tests with the Italian firm during 2011.
“I'm delighted to be back for another year with Pirelli after an extremely successful first season of collaboration,” he said. “We learned a lot together and so we are both very happy to continue. This is a good opportunity for me to carry on the work that we started last year, which allows me to compare and contrast with all the tyres I have tested so far. These tyres are now a fantastic feature of Formula One.”
The signing of Alguersuari to partner di Grassi means Pirelli now has two test drivers in place for the first time, with motorsport director Paul Hembery saying it was all part of the tyre supplier's quest to improve the show.
“Our commitment to providing the best possible spectacle in Formula One is underlined by the fact that we have two extremely fast and talented test drivers this year,” he said. “Lucas will provide us with the reference point that we need from the development programme so far, while Jaime brings an extra dimension from his experience of racing at the sharp end of the field throughout the last three seasons. We're going to be using the drivers for all of our single-seater testing activities, including GP2 and simulator development as well.
“Their input and expertise are sure to help us make even greater progress during the season, resulting in competition tyres that enhance the action further and new technologies that will eventually filter down to our Ultra High Performance road car products. With opportunities for young drivers to drive a Formula One car so limited, this is a great chance for Lucas and Jaime to not only hone their testing and development skills, but also to potentially follow our former test drivers like Romain Grosjean, Pedro de la Rosa and Nick Heidfeld in returning to F1 or another top flight motorsport programme in future.”