Pedro de la Rosa was not out of work for long following the demise of the HRT team for which he raced in 2012, but the Spaniard will be taking his renowned development abilities to Italy rather than the UK, as had been suggested.
While many expected de la Rosa to return to McLaren for a third stint as its test and development driver, one of the Woking squad's biggest rivals, Ferrari, announced that it had pounced to take advantage, not only of de la Rosa's abilities, but also his undoubted insider knowledge of what goes on behind closed doors at McLaren.
The Scuderia used the opening day of its annual Wroom
media event to confirm that de la Rosa had been hired to work on the team's simulator at Maranello, adding to an already respected backroom staff that includes Marc Gene, Giancarlo Fisichella and Jules Bianchi. The Spaniard is also expected to be able to bring his experience to bear when Ferrari gets its Italian windtunnel back up and running following much-publicised problems over the past couple of seasons. It is currently employing the former Toyota F1 windtunnel in Cologne as a stop-gap in the run-up to 2013.
“We decided to add de la Rosa to our group of drivers mainly to strengthen one area, namely work in the simulator, which, with the current regulations regarding testing, is becoming ever more important,” team principal Stefano Domenicali explained, “Pedro therefore joins a group of drivers that already includes Davide Rigon, Marc Gene, Andrea Bertolini and Jules Bianchi.”
de la Rosa's spell with HRT took his record of grand prix start to 104, adding to stints with Arrows, Jaguar and Sauber, as well as a handful of stand-in appearances for McLaren. It also reunites him with fellow Spaniard Fernando Alonso, following their brief time together at Woking in 2007.
“I am happy to be collaborating with Fernando again and also to be working with Felipe [Massa],” de la Rosa confirmed, “It is amazingly motivating to be working for a team like Ferrari, not just because of what it represents in the history of F1 and motoring in general, but also because it will be a completely new and very stimulating experience for me.
“I really hope I can get to work as soon as possible and to help in the development of the car. There's not much time until Australia, but there is a lot to do and I am available to help the team from right now.”